Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani has been charged by the Football Association following a controversial Instagram message.
The player used the word “negrito” in response to posts from fans after he scored two match winning goals.
If found guilty the Uruguayan faces a minimum three-match ban.
An Old Trafford statement said:
“Manchester United and all of our players are fully committed to the fight against racism and we will continue to work with the FA — along with other governing bodies and organisations, and through our own campaigns – in that regard.
“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.”
An FA statement read:
“Edinson Cavani has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on Thursday 29 November 2020.
“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 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.”
Cavani said sorry for posting the comment after his thrilling match winning game.
The Uruguayan player scored twice to help United beat Southampton 3-2 – after trailing by two goals.
A delighted Cavani took to Instagram to celebrate with his followers.
One fan posted ‘Asi te queiro Matador’ in Spanish, which translates “I love you, Matador!”
Cavani replied: “Gracias Negrito!”
The word is said to be Spanish for “little black”.
United quickly pointed out Cavani had used the word as a term of “affection”.
The word means different things in South America.
Now Cavani, 33, has said:
“The message I posted after the game on Sunday was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend, thanking him for his congratulations after the game.
“The last thing I wanted to do was cause offence to anyone.
“I am completely opposed to racism and deleted the message as soon as it was explained that it can be interpreted differently.
“I would like to sincerely apologise for this.”