Manchester: Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva was charged with misconduct by the English FA on Wednesday for posting a tweet that compared teammate Benjamin Mendy to the character on a packet of Conguitos chocolates.

Silva’s tweet was an “aggravated breach” of rules, the FA said, because it included reference “to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin,” and brought the game into disrepute.

If Silva is found guilty, the FA’s minimum six-game sanction for racism would not be automatically triggered because this case relates to a social media post. The punishment would be at the discretion of the disciplinary panel.

City posted a tweet soon after the charge was announced, showing an image of Mendy shoving a computer screen off a desk in apparent disgust, under the words: “Logging on to find #TwitterDown this morning.”

Silva has written a letter to the FA, expressing regret for any unintentional offence caused by the tweet. It was posted on Sunday — and has since been deleted — and showed a picture of Mendy when he was a kid alongside the character found on a packet of Conguitos, which are chocolate-covered nuts made in Spain. Both Mendy and the character are black.

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 offence.

Silva has been strongly defended by City manager Pep Guardiola, who said his player’s “intention was just a joke” and “probably the same happened a thousand million times with white people.” Guardiola said it would be “completely wrong” to think the tweet had any racist undertones.

Anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out has called on the FA to take action, referring to the contents of the post as a racist stereotype.

Silva has until October 9 to respond to the charge.