The Uruguayan players' union (AFU) has blasted the English Football Association for banning Edinson Cavani for using a racial term, and has called on the FA to overturn the Manchester United striker's suspension.
Cavani was suspended for three games by the FA and also handed a £100,000 fan for an Instagram post following United's 3-2 win against Southampton on 29 November. Cavani replied to a message of congratulations from a close friend using the Spanish term 'negrito', which translates as 'black'.
The 33-year-old apologised and removed the post after being made aware of the connotations, but was subsequently charged by the FA with "misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3", fined and banned for three matches.
On Monday, the AFU lashed out at the FA, releasing a statement claiming that it had "committed a discriminatory act against the culture and way of life of the Uruguayan people".
The statement was shared on Twitter by Uruguay captain Diego Godin.
"Edinson Cavani has never committed any conduct that could be interpreted as racist," the AFU said. "He merely used a common expression in Latin America to affectionately address a loved one or close friend.
"The sanction shows the English Football Association's biased, dogmatic and ethnocentric vision that only allows a subjective interpretation to be made from its particular and excluding conclusion, however flawed it may be.
"We request the FA to immediately overturn the sanction imposed on Edinson Cavani and reinstate his good name and honour in the world that has been so unfairly tarnished by this reprehensible decision."
The Uruguayan Academy of Letters, which protects and promotes the Spanish language in Uruguay, also denounced the ban last week, calling the sanction an example of English football's lack of "cultural and linguistic knowledge."
Cavani, who has scored four times for United this season, missed Friday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa due to the suspension.
The 33-year-old will also miss their Carabao Cup semi-final against rivals Manchester City on Wednesday as well as Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against Watford.
As part of the punishment, Cavani must complete "face-to-face education".
Additional reporting by Reuters.