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FA Investigation: Will Andre Onana’s statement impact Alejandro Garnacho’s potential ban



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Credit: Man Utd

Alejandro Garnacho is under investigation by the Football Association after he uploaded an image of Manchester United teammate Andre Onana accompanied by two gorilla emojis in the caption.

The Manchester United winger uploaded the post on social media platform X, formally known as Twitter, on Tuesday evening. He then edited the original caption before deleting the post altogether.

It had been reported by the Manchester Evening News that the teenager deleted the post once he was advised of the potential racial connotations involved.

However, it was added that the Football Assosiation were made aware of the incident and could charge Garnacho with a breach of their guidelines around racially sensitive social media posts and made contact with United to get the teenager’s observations over the social media post.

Andre Onana – who was the saviour on Tuesday evening against Copenhagen, saving a last-minute penalty to ensure victory – commented on the incident on Thursday evening.

The goalkeeper said: “People cannot choose what I should be offended by. I know exactly what Garnacho meant: power and strength. This matter should go no further.”

With these comments from the goalkeeper surfacing, the question remains: Will Alejandro Garnacho still get a ban from the FA?

The answer, even after Onana’s statement, remains a maybe. Prior examples from both United and elsewhere have shown that how someone interprets a social media message like this do not matter so much.

At Manchester City in 2019, Bernardo Silva faced a one-game suspension and was fined £50,000 after he uploaded an image comparing his former teammate Benjamin Mendy to the mascot of Spanish confectionery brand Conguitos, one that had previously been criticised for racial undertones.

Whilst Mendy replied with laughing emojis to the original post, Silva deleted the image from social media and was also ordered to complete face-to-face education as well as the ban and fine, as the FA deemed the post as an “aggravated breach” of their rules on social media behaviour.

Meanwhile, another case involved former United striker Edinson Cavani, who was banned for three games and had to pay a £100,000 fine after an incident in 2020.

Following a 3-2 victory against Southampton in November that year, where Cavani scored twice, the Urugayan forward used the word “negrito” in response to a congratulatory post from a friend on Instagram.

Despite the striker’s intentions being to send an ‘affectionate thank you’, as explained in United’s statement at the time, he was still punished by the FA and released an apology on social media.

So, ultimately, whilst Onana has stated that he knew what his young teammate meant with his message, there is still a chance that he is banned or faces alternative action from the FA, such as face-to-face education.

United’s next game comes against Manchester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday 29 October.