Manchester City’ Bernardo Silva has been banned for one match, fined £50,000 and ordered to attend an educational session after admitting an FA charge relating to his September tweet in relation to Benjamin Mendy.
As has widely been reported, Silva compared a picture of Mendy as a child to a cartoon character from the Portuguese sweets Conguitos, which is known for having racial connotations. Silva stated he had no previous knowledge of the adverse connotations linked by some to the Conguitos brand.
The FA seemed to want a six game ban for the midfielder, stating that ‘Silva’s lack of awareness regarding the implication of posting the image, coupled with his 600,000 followers, should result in a multiple-game suspension.’
However, the FA commission took the following into account when considering the appropriate punishment for the City man:
a) The player did not have any knowledge of the historical connotations of the Conguitos character.
b) His tweet was not intended by him to be either racist or offensive in any way.
c) The tweet was promptly deleted by the player.
d) The player and his club have taken steps themselves to ensure that the player has a greater understanding of his responsibilities on social media.
e) The player made an early admission in full cooperation with the disciplinary process.
f) The player has an exemplary character and disciplinary record.
On first look, it seems that Bernardo has got off lightly; indeed many opposing supporters, strangely those from Liverpool, have taken to social media to express their disgust at the punishment, asking why it happened after the two teams met on Sunday. This would be understandable if he’d popped up and scored the winner!
But it could also be viewed as harsh considering Bulgaria were only fined around £65,000 and ordered to have two games played behind closed doors – with one of those suspended for two years – following racist abuse of some of their supporters towards England players in Sofia last month. The behaviour of these so-called supporters included monkey chants and nazi salutes and the fine lead to criticism from Kick It Out, the PFA and FARE. And just recently, America women’s World Cup star Megan Rapinoe called the punishment an absolute joke.
Bear in mind that Bulgaria were already under UEFA sanction for previous racist abuse by their supporters, it would have been expected the punishment would have been much greater, so to have Silva’s individual punishment so close to that of an international football team may be more than a little harsh on the Portuguese star.
However, Silva has accepted his punishment, as have the club, who have chosen not to appeal the punishment. However, it is understood that the club feel the punishment is harsh on the player and, as Mendy himself found the tweet amusing, the punishment does not fit the crime.
What do you think? Has Silva got off lightly, is the punishment correct or has Silva been harshly treated? Let us know your thoughts.