Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva has been banned for one match and fined £50,000 after an FA commission accepted he “did not intend” a tweet about team-mate Benjamin Mendy to be “racist”.
In September, Silva posted a photo believed to be of City teammate Benjamin Mendy as a child, with the caption: “Guess who?” and an image of the mascot for Spanish chocolate brand Conguitos, which is widely viewed as a controversial caricature.
The Portugal forward, 25, must also complete a face-to-face education for his tweet on 22 September, after admitting a breach of FA Rule E3.
Silva deleted the post 46 minutes after he published it before tweeting: “Can’t even joke with a friend these days.”
He however avoided a six-game ban, which would usually be awarded for such action.
The FA report said: “Many persons would have taken offence to the content.”
“The player did not himself intend the post to be insulting or in any way racist. It is clear that the tweet was intended to be no more than a joke between close friends.” The FA report added.
Though acknowledging the Conguitos mascot is controversial, the FA said its historical context would “have been known only to a limited few” and Silva had grown up in Portugal “where both the brand and the character were familiar and considered inoffensive.”
Manchester City have decided not to appeal against the punishment fearing an extension could be triggered, meaning Silva will miss the match against third-placed Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on 23 November.
By Gerald Dandah