Gary Neville has urged English football authorities to introduce diversity inclusion training – after Edinson Cavani was accused of posting a ‘racist’ term on social media.
The Uruguay striker inspired Manchester United’s comeback 3-2 victory over Southampton with two goals after coming off the bench.
Replying to a message of congratulations on Instagram, Cavani used the Spanish term ‘negrito’, which translates as ‘black’.
United stressed that the word was clearly used in an affectionate manner and has different connotations in South America, where Cavani is from.
The club said the 33-year-old had been made aware such terms are viewed as offensive in the UK and he subsequently deleted the post.
But Neville, speaking before Fulham’s win at Leicester, told Sky Sports: “The Premier League, the FA, the EFL, the LMA and the PFA – there’s five of them. They’re all properly funded. They’ve all got lots of money.
“Put a diversity and inclusion set of protocols in place that are fixed.
“At least collaborate on issues that are societal. Let’s drive it out of the game, root it out. It’s got to be done by education and training.
“That means that players have to be part of biweekly, monthly training on diversity and inclusion: why people take offence to certain words and others don’t. If it offends someone, it’s a problem.
“To me, this is going to continue to happen and we’re not going to be able to deal with it until this curriculum, this education is in place and then put it into schools so it’s part of the school curriculum as well.”
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The FA, which is aware of the matter and will investigate, issued guidelines ahead of this season clamping down on racist and discriminatory language and behaviour, with offences on social media carrying a minimum three-game ban.
Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva and Dele Alli of Tottenham were both suspended for one match last season after posts that breached FA guidelines.
Neville added: We’re here again aren’t we?
“We had an incident at Liverpool a few years ago when a similar word was used with Luis Suarez.
“Every time there’s an alleged offence of racism or there is an offence of racism or someone is offended by a word that’s not appropriate, we hear the word ‘education’, we hear the word ‘training’ and still football is incapable of putting a curriculum in place for its players, its members, its fans that is compulsory.
“Why is Edinson Cavani not subjected to diversity inclusion training, education the minute he comes into this country? Not to remind him of his duties but to educate him.
“If we’re truly going to root out this problem of discrimination in this country it has to become part of the curriculum at school, it has to be part of a curriculum in sport.
“Every employer in the country has to enter into a diversity inclusion training programme and implement it and execute it.
“Still to this day in football we have banners being held, we have players taking the knee, we hold flags in the air, wear badges on our chests – where is the education and training?
“This could have been prevented. We’re still going to see incidents like this where Edinson Cavani probably at 5pm when he reposted that Instagram story, didn’t have a clue he was doing anything wrong. In 24 hours he’s having to apologise for it.”