Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva has been charged by the FA with improper conduct after sending a racially insensitive tweet to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.
Silva was widely condemned after comparing Mendy to the mascot of Spanish confectionery brand Conguitos last month before deleting the Twitter post 45 minutes later. A statement from the governing body on Wednesday morning read: ‘Bernardo Silva has been charged with misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on September 22, 2019.
‘It is alleged that the Manchester City player’s activity breaches FA Rule E3(1) as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute. ‘It is further alleged that the activity constitutes an ‘aggravated breach’, which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin.
‘The midfielder has until 9 October 2019 to provide a response.’ FA guidelines state that a breach of rule E3 on social media would not immediately mean a six-match ban, as a proven offence on the pitch would. Instead, a regulatory commission will decide what sanction it deems appropriate for the act committed.
Where the comments are ‘clearly pejorative and discriminatory’, match-based sanctions can be imposed. Mandatory education courses are also to form part of any sanction for a proven offence. It is understood Silva wrote to the FA to express regret over the Mendy tweet, while Mendy also wrote to the governing body to say that no personal offence had been caused.
A video also surfaced with the Portuguese international once asking Mendy why he wasn’t wearing any clothes – even though he was dressed in all black attire. The charge comes amid huge support for Silva from his manager Pep Guardiola and team-mate Raheem Sterling over the issue. Despite calls for an apology from Silva and City, Guardiola repeatedly insisted that it was shared was a joke and well-intended.
The Spaniard tripled down on his stance regarding the situation between his two players after their win over Everton last week, insisting that there is nothing to learn on the part of Silva in relation to the matter. ‘I don’t think Bernardo has to learn’, the Spaniard said. ‘It was a joke but if someone is offended he has apologised.
‘It is tough because the people and media are saying he is racist. I wouldn’t like to be accused of that because it’s not true. Mendy is like a brother to him, a real friend.’ Guardiola went on to speak of the character of the 25-year-old, stressing his value as a member of his star-studded squad.
‘He’s an exceptional person, exceptional. It’s not easy to live in that position where people can think he’s not. So we have to fight every single day, about discrimination, racism, sexual abuse and all bad things. ‘Every single day in our society we have to fight for that but we have to be careful because we are accusing an exceptional person of being something he’s not.
He has a family and that’s why it is really unfair. I am so disappointed with how he has been treated.’ Sterling, who has used his fame to become a public voice against racism, added: ‘I thought the situation was between two friends.
I can see the point where some people will feel touchy about it but in that situation, Bernardo made a joke to a friend. ‘He’s not referred to his skin colour, he’s not referred to his lips. In the pictures they’ve both got small heads. The most important thing to me is that he didn’t refer to a colour. We all know and everyone can see Mendy is a black lad. You’ve got to be proud to be black too.