Gary Neville insists the football community must undertake diversity inclusion training after Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani called a friend ‘negrito’ on Instagram.
The Uruguayan striker’s heroics to inspire United to a come-from-behind win at Southampton were overshadowed when he posted a controversial Spanish term on social media in the hours that followed.
Cavani ‘sincerely apologised’, saying the post ‘was intended as an affectionate greeting to a friend,’ but may yet be hit with a minimum three-game ban after the FA launched an investigation.
Gary Neville has urged football to create a diversity inclusion programme following Edinson Cavani’s Instagram post calling a friend a ‘negrito’
His message translated to ‘thanks black’ as he appeared to respond to a congratulatory post
But former United defender Neville insists the game itself must also take the blame for Cavani’s post for not having subjected him to appropriate training after arriving on a free transfer in the summer, and believes repeat incidents will follow until it is implemented.
‘We hear the words education and training and yet football is still incapable of putting a curriculum in place for its players, for its members, for its fans that is compulsory,’ Neville told Sky Sports.
‘Why is Edinson Cavani not subjected to diversity inclusion training and education the minute he comes into this country? If we truly are going to root out discrimination in this country it has to become part of the curriculum, in school and within sport.
But Neville insists the game must also take the blame and insists repeat offences may follow
Neville called for actions like taking the knee to be backed up by implementing training
‘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, players taking the knee, wave flags in the air and wear badges on our chest, where is the education and training. This could have been prevented.
‘We are still going to continue to see incidents like this where Cavani reposted that Instagram story didn’t have a clue that he was doing anything wrong. And within 24 hours he is having to apologise for it.’
Asked who is responsible for the implantation of such training, Neville added: ‘The Premier League, the FA, the EFL, the LMA and the PFA. They are all funded, they all have lots of money, put a diversity inclusion set of protocols and processes in place that are fixed that all five buy up to.
Neville urged the Premier League (chief executive Richard Masters, left) and the EFL (chairman Rick Parry, right) to join forces on the issue
‘We have five different slogans (BLM, Show Racism the Red Card, No Room for Racism, Kick it Out, Players Together) and they cannot even come together on a singular campaign on something they should be one on. At least collaborate on important issues that are societal.
‘Drive it out of the game, root out discrimination and it has to be done by education and training.
‘That means players and everyone that takes part in this game, including us, to bi-weekly or monthly training on diversity inclusion and why people take offence to certain words and why some people don’t. If it offends someone it is a problem.’
Watford striker Troy Deeney also agreed education is the best policy to root out the problem, but admitted he was ‘worried’ that he believes the Uruguay international did not check his message before posting it.
‘It’s never right, no matter which way you look at it,’ he told talkSPORT.
Neville insists those who created slogans like Black Lives Matter must now join together
‘I just think when you write a message out, it’s considered, nine times out of ten, that you’ll proofread it before putting it out there because you don’t want to make yourself look an idiot.
‘But at no point did he think “that’s not right” – that’s what worried me a little bit.
‘I understand we get three-game bans now, but I just want to know whether the FA are educating players when they come to this country.
‘I don’t think he’s meant it to insult anyone, but he needs to be educated on what is acceptable and what isn’t.’
Troy Deeney also agreed education was the best policy believing Cavani did not mean to insult