NIGERIAN-born playmaker Dele Alli has been suspended for one match by the English Football Association over a post he wrote on social media about coronavirus in which he appeared to be mocking an Asian man.
Alli, 24, who plies is trade with north London clubside Tottenham Hotspurs, was on course to make a return for the club when it resumes its English Premier League campaign on June 19. However, he posted a video on Snapchat in February in which he joked about the outbreak and appeared to mock an Asian man, leading to him being suspended.
Apart from suspending him, the England international has also been fined £50,000 and ordered to undertake an education course. In the video, Alli is wearing a facemask in an airport lounge, before moving the camera to show a man of Asian appearance and then zooming in on a bottle of antiseptic hand wash.
At his disciplinary hearing, Alli said that he had very quickly realised the video may have the potential to cause upset and deleted it before catching his flight. However, he said he had been betrayed by a friend who sold the video on his private account to the media.
Alli said: “In response to the FA decision, I would like to apologise again for any offence caused by my behaviour. It was an extremely poorly judged joke about a virus that has now affected us more than we could ever have imagined.
“I’m grateful that the FA has confirmed that my actions were not racist because I despise racism of any kind. We all need to be mindful of the words and actions we use and how they can be perceived by others.”
More than 41,000 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, and more than 416,000 worldwide. Next week, the English Premier League will resume after being suspended for four months as a result of the virus.