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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

'Strongly reprimanded': Chelsea apologise for Kenedy's offensive China posts

Brazilian winger, 21, jeered during game against Arsenal in Beijing after uploading offensive posts about the country to his Instagram account

Kenedy, left, and David Luiz of Chelsea arrive at Jet Quay Private Terminal ahead of the International Champions Cup on July 23, 2017 in Singapore. Suhaimi Abdullah / Getty Images
Kenedy, left, and David Luiz of Chelsea arrive at Jet Quay Private Terminal ahead of the International Champions Cup on July 23, 2017 in Singapore. Suhaimi Abdullah / Getty Images

Chelsea have issued an apology to Chinese fans following a series of offensive posts uploaded by Brazilian winger Kenedy during the club's pre-season tour.

Kenedy, 21, uploaded at least two posts to his Instagram account, since deleted, with one of them appearing to use an expletive aimed towards the country in his native Portuguese and the other mocking a Chinese security guard as he slept.

Chelsea, who on Saturday beat Arsenal 3-0 at Beijing's Bird Nest Stadium, issued a statement on Sunday in which they apologised for the posts that caused “great offence and hurt the feelings of the people of China” and said the player had been "strongly reprimanded and disciplined".

Kenedy was jeered during the Arsenal match and has since apologised for his comments, and said any offence caused by now-deleted posts was “not intentional”.

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“On 22 July, Chelsea football club experienced the warmth and friendliness of Chinese fans at the National Stadium,” read a Chelsea statement published on their website on Sunday afternoon. “However, we were surprised and disappointed that one day prior to the match, one of our young players, Kenedy, posted messages on his social media account that caused great offence and hurt the feelings of the people of China.

“Unfortunately, even though he quickly deleted the messages and apologised, and the club also apologised via our Chinese social media channels, the damage had already been done. Chelsea football club once again solemnly and sincerely apologises.

“Kenedy’s actions were a mistake that he will learn greatly from. His behaviour does not represent the entire team and does not align with the club’s high expectations and strict requirements of its young players. He has been strongly reprimanded and disciplined.

“Everyone at Chelsea football club has the utmost respect and admiration for China and loves our Chinese fans. It is because of this that the negative impact we have seen over the last two days has left us shocked and saddened. Once again, we sincerely apologise for the hurt caused to our Chinese fans as well as to the Chinese people.

“The match was a great cultural exchange event between China and Britain and the club is extremely grateful to China for its hospitality, which has brought us closer together in friendship. We very much hope to build on our strong relationship with our Chinese fans and friends, joining hands firmly with China in future for further cooperation.

“We offer this apology with utmost sincerity. We have listened carefully to the criticism and will use the lessons learnt over the last two days to improve our processes in future.”

Kenedy, who joined Chelsea from Fluminense in 2015, made three appearances on loan at Watford last season.

Chelsea's pre-season tour of the Far East continues on Tuesday when they face German champions Bayern Munich in Singapore.