Tottenham Hotspur forward Dele Alli is facing a Football Association investigation into a social media post apparently joking about the deadly coronavirus.
The FA have written to Alli asking for his observations which could lead to a potential ban and fine after he put a video on Snapchat which appeared to mock an Asian man.
Alli has now issued two public apologies and has stressed that it was a private post on Snapchat which only his friends could see but was leaked.
Alli also says the video showed that he was wearing a mask to stop germs, zoomed in on a bottle of antiseptic hand wash with a caption: “This virus gunna have to be quicker than that to catch me.”
The video was filmed at an airport departure lounge with an Asian man in the background while he waited to catch a flight to Dubai during the winter break. He removed the video within minutes.
Tottenham have already spoken to Alli about the video, the midfielder is due to report back in for training on Wednesday and, while the player admits he made a mistake, he insists it was not racist.
The FA must will decide after hearing from Alli whether to charge him and what punishment to take but it will come down to whether it is deemed as racist or offensive. Alli strongly denies it was in any way racist.
He issued a public apology when the story appeared in a newspaper at the weekend and then issued a further apology to Chinese social media site Weibo on Sunday.
Alli said on Weibo: “Just wanted to apologise for the video I posted. It wasn’t funny. I realised that immediately and took it down. It isn’t something which should be joked about.”
The FA are determined to clamp down and take strong action on social media posts. Portugal star Silva compared Mendy to the character on a packet of Conguitos – a chocolate brand available in Spain and Portugal.
Silva deleted the post 46 minutes after he published it before tweeting: “Can’t even joke with a friend these days.”
He was also ordered to complete a face-to-face education after the FA report said: “Many persons would have taken offence to the content.”