Edinson Cavani has been charged by the FA over a social media post following the win over Southampton last month.
Cavani sent an affectionate message towards a friend in Uruguay which could be deemed offensive in this country.
The FA statement read: “It is alleged that, contrary to FA Rule E3.1, a comment posted on the Manchester United FC player’s Instagram page was insulting and/or abusive and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.
It is further alleged that the comment constitutes an ‘Aggravated Breach’, which is defined in FA Rule E3.2, as it included a reference, whether express or implied, to colour and/or race and/or ethnic origin.
“The striker has until Monday 4 January 2021 to provide a response to the charge.“
United’s response read: “
“We note the FA decision today to charge Edinson Cavani for his social media reply to a friend’s message of congratulations, following the Southampton game.
“Edinson and the club were clear that there was absolutely no malicious intent behind the message, which he deleted and apologised for, as soon as he was informed that it could have been misconstrued.
“The player and the club will now consider the charge and respond to the FA accordingly.”
On one hand, the FA had to be seen to address the post and making Cavani fully explain his stance at a personal hearing will show they are taking it seriously.
However, as United point out, there was context behind Cavani’s message which has been lost in translation.
The one small positive is that Cavani remains eligible for the festive fixtures.
If there is a three-game ban imposed – which could be appealed – then Cavani’s status for Manchester United’s visit to Liverpool is at risk.
United face Liverpool on January 17, the second game after the FA hearing, in our first fixture against Jurgen Klopp’s side this season.
There could be a lot riding on it if United keep up this current form and solidify our status as title challengers over the festive fixtures.
Other fixtures at risk include Watford (h) in the FA Cup, Fulham (a), and Sheffield United (h) and Arsenal (a) if the ban is an extensive one or delayed by appeal until late January.
Cavani has had a stop-start beginning to his United career but has already shown his importance.
If the Uruguayan is ruled to be eligible for the Liverpool game if charges are dismissed, expect a full meltdown on Merseyside – but it would be the right decision in the circumstances.
Whether the FA, a governing body which once suspended Wayne Rooney for swearing at a camera, make the smart decision is another matter entirely.
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