Chelsea and their defender Kenedy have issued an apology to the people of China after the latter's post on social networking site Instagram caused "great offence and hurt the feelings of the people of China."
The Blues traveled to China and Singapore for the pre-season tour and started the friendly fixture with a 3-0 win over Arsenal at Bird's Nest in Beijing. Kenedy, who replaced Marcos Alonso in the 69th minute was booed by the fans inside the stadium.
It was Kenedy's two posts on Instagram a day before the friendly fixture against Arsenal that caused the stir. He wrote "Porra china" (F**k China) on his Instagram account and then posted a photograph of the security guard snoozing with a caption "Acorda China Vacila" (Wake up China idiot).
The 21-year-old deleted those posts, but the screenshots were shared on various social media channels, which forced Chelsea and the player to issue an apology.
Chelsea's statement on their official website read, "On July 22nd, Chelsea Football Club experienced the warmth and friendliness of Chinese fans at the National Stadium. 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 also issued an apology for the "offence" he caused. He said, "I would like to apologise to the people of China for the offence I have caused. It was never my intention to insult or offend anyone at all and I now realise that my comments were totally inappropriate."
"I wish to state that I have tremendous respect and admiration for the Chinese people and their country."
"I would also like to apologise to my club Chelsea and all my companions who I have let down by my posts. I fully understand the responsibility of representing my club and it was never my intention to cause this embarrassment nor disrespect."
Goal.com reports that Chelsea may be banned from China after Kenedy's offensive posts. The report claims the government authorities have ordered the Chinese media to "withdraw all related stories about Chelsea from their dual homepages and news apps."
In addition to this, Goal claims a source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are closely monitoring the situation as there are remote possibility of Chelsea facing an outright ban in China.