MANCHESTER City star Bernardo Silva is set to personally plead with the FA bosses not to ban him for his “racist” tweet.
Wembley disciplinary beaks have charged the Portuguese schemer with “aggravated misconduct” over his Twitter message to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.
Under FA regulations, the starting point for a guilty verdict is “match ban sanctions”, with Silva facing a potential three-match suspension.
But while it is expected that Silva will accept the charge, he is set to ask for a personal appearance to allow him to plead his case that there was no malice or racist intent in his “joke” to his long-term club-mate and friend.
Silva, 25, sent an image of Mendy as a schoolboy alongside the with a cartoon-like character who is the symbol of Spanish chocolate brand Conguitos.
Mendy replied with laughing emojis, clapping hands and “1-0” before vowing revenge while PSG ace Kylian Mbappe “liked” the original message.
But within 45 minutes, after a social media backlash, the tweet was deleted, with Silva posting another message, accompanied by the “face palm” emoji, which read: “Can’t even joke with a friend these days.”
It then emerged that Silva had posted an Instagram message in the summer in which he suggested that Mendy was “naked” because he was wearing black training kit.
Silva was asked for his observations on both messages by FA disciplinary officials as anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out demanded action.
Kick It Out said: “Racist stereotypes are never acceptable as ‘banter’.”
Silva was supported by City boss Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling.
He sent a letter to the FA apologising for the tweet and expressing regret for any offence that was unintentionally caused, with Mendy confirming he was not offended.