Bernardo Silva banned and fined by FA over tweet to Manchester City teammate Benjamin Mendy

Portuguese midfielder will miss game against Chelsea, despite FA accepting that he 'did not intend' to be insulting or racist

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester City Training - Etihad Campus, Manchester, Britain - November 5, 2019   Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy during training    Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo
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Bernardo Silva has been banned for one match and fined for posting a controversial tweet about Manchester City teammate Benjamin Mendy.

The Portuguese will miss City's home Premier League match against Chelsea after the international break, was fined £50,000 (Dh235,000) and ordered to complete face-to-face education.

On September 22, Silva compared Mendy to the character on a packet of Conguitos – a chocolate brand available in Spain and Portugal. He admitted to an "aggravated breach" of rules because the post referenced race.

The FA report said: "The player did not himself intend the post to be insulting or in any way racist. It is clear that the tweet was intended to be no more than a joke between close friends.

"However, this was not a private communication between two friends.

"The post was on a social media platform exposed to the 600,000 followers of a high-profile and well-respected professional footballer.

"Many persons viewing the imagery depicted in the tweet would have taken offence to the content as being insulting by reference to race, colour and ethnic origin in a way that Silva wrote a letter to the FA, expressing regret for any unintentional offense caused by the tweet."

Their findings concluded that: "The tweet had been intended as a joke between team-mates and was taken in exactly that spirit by the intended principal recipient, Mr Mendy."

The FA said the minimum six-game ban for such a breach of the rules does not apply here because: "This Commission is not bound to pass a suspension of at least six matches for this aggravated breach by reason of the fact that the communication was via social media."

Mendy, who is close friends with Silva having also played with the Portugal international at French club Monaco, issued a supporting statement with Silva's letter, saying he did not take offense.

City decided not to contest the verdict which means Silva will not be available for the game against third-place Chelsea, who sit one position and one point above Pep Guardiola's side in the table, at the Etihad Stadium on November 23.