Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva has been suspended for one match, fined £50,000 and ordered to complete face-to-face education after a tweet he sent to teammate Benjamin Mendy was deemed to have constituted an “aggravated breach” of the Football Association’s rules on social media behaviour because it appeared to reference the French left-back’s race.
The Portugal midfielder posted pictures of Mendy as a child alongside the mascot for Spanish confectionery firm Conguitos on 22 September. He immediately deleted it but was charged by the FA last month.
“The Manchester City midfielder’s social media activity on 22 September 2019 breached FA Rule E3(1), as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute, and constituted 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,” read a statement from the FA on Wednesday.
On the same day as the tweet in question, Silva posted: “Can’t even joke with a friend these days… You guys…”
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. City manager Pep Guardiola also leapt to the defence of his player.
“Bernardo is one of the most lovely people I have ever met in my life,” Guardiola said on 25 September.
“He speaks four or five languages – that is the best way to understand how open-minded he is – and one of his best friends is Mendy. He is like a brother for him. The image for the two is not about the colour of the skin.”
Silva is now set to miss the Premier League match against Chelsea on 23 November.