MOT View: Man City FA decision sets dangerous precedent, surely has knock-on effect for Casilla
Man City’s Bernardo Silva has been banned for one game, fined £50,000 and ordered to attend face-to-face education sessions after sending a tweet about teammate Benjamin Mendy that was considered racist.
The FA decision was made on Wednesday and came after Silva admitted a breach of FA Rule E3.
Part of the statement read, “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.”
— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) November 13, 2019
Leeds fans have every reason to be interested in this decision, given that goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has also been charged with the same offence and is facing a minimum six-game ban, with the Daily Mail saying it could be as many as 8-12.
Leeds and Casilla have been given an extension to respond to the charge, which is now set for November 27.
— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) November 4, 2019
The two cases are different. If you’re not familiar with the Silva case, he sent a tweet comparing a young Mendy to the character from the Spanish chocolate brand Conguitos. That character has obvious racist overtones.
In Casilla’s case, it was for remarks made on the pitch towards Charlton’s Jonathan Leko.
The FA listed a number of mitigating factors behind the decision to only Ban Silva for one game. These are…
- The Player did not have any knowledge of the historical connotations of the Conguitos character
- His tweet was not intended by him to be either racist or offensive in any way
- The tweet was promptly deleted by the player
- The player and his club have taken steps themselves to ensure that the player has a greater understanding of his responsibilities on social media
- The player made an early admission in full cooperation with the disciplinary process
- The player has an exemplary character and disciplinary record
How do these fit with Casilla’s case?
We do not know what was said by Casilla but we do know that he’s strenuously denying the charge. It’s entirely possible that something was said in Spanish that was felt by Leko to be a racist comment.
Casilla, though, is adamant that he did not or did not intend to say anything racist.
Casilla also has an exemplary character and disciplinary record.
The only factor that might play against Casilla is that he’s fighting the charge, although being banned multiple times more for trying to prove your innocence would seem entirely draconian.
It’s a case that Leeds fans will be following very carefully now.
Man City are a huge club with huge influence and a huge wallet. They can’t be seen to be being treated differently by the authorities.
We don’t think there’s any room for citing cultural differences as an excuse for racism and certainly no excuse for not knowing the possible connotations of the Conguitos character. The image Silva tweeted was racist, full stop.
By banning him for just one game, the FA has set a dangerous precedent that will be used to weaken other cases in the future.
If – and we stress if, we just don’t know what was said – Casilla said something entirely innocent in Spanish, but words that could reasonably cause offence on an English football pitch, where do the FA go after the Silva decision?
It surely has to have knock-on effects but we’ve got a good idea what will happen and we don’t think the Leeds fans are going to be left happy.
In other Leeds news: MOT Tactics – Leeds on right track but big chances still going begging