Transfer

Club issue statement in support of Conor Gallagher

Chelsea have released a club statement in defence of Conor Gallagher after a video went viral on social media because it appeared to show him appear to snub a mascot.

Gallagher has been heavily criticised and labelled as racist following the circulation of the clip after last weekend’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Burnley.

The video shows the 24-year-old making his way to the front of the line-up in the tunnel prior to kick-off and, as he approached, two mascots were waiting. He shook the hand of one and tapped the other on the back despite him having his hand outstretched.

Chelsea and Pochettino unhappy with Conor Gallagher backlash

The England international was then seen to be looking the other way as the mascot continued to stand there with his arm outstretched.

Suggestions that it was a somewhat deliberate act have been met with anger by both the club and first-team manager, Mauricio Pochettino.

A strongly worded club statement on Chelsea’s official website read:

“Chelsea Football Club is aware of a video clip circulating on social media from Saturday’s fixture against Burnley, which has been taken considerably out of context.

“The subsequent level of abuse and defamatory comments directed towards Conor Gallagher is completely unacceptable. We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome.”

Conor Gallagher in action for Chelsea.

For balance, a subsequent picture on social media did show Gallagher walking out on the pitch with his arms around both mascots, but that didn’t stop the abuse from continuing on social media.

“That has upset me so much. Because no one wants to do something like this, with this intention,” Mauricio Pochettino noted in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Manchester United.

“When you play football and you are there and focusing to play and start the game, that sometimes can happen.

“People try to find things to create a mess and to abuse. Conor is a great, great kid and is always caring about everything. I hate that people feel free to abuse on social media. To abuse the people is so easy. So easy. Who thinks the intention of Conor is to ignore a mascot? No one. Come on.”

The entire episode has left a sour taste in the mouth and once again highlights the need for social media companies to police their apps much more effectively.

It’s completely unacceptable for anyone to have their character called into question in such a manner, and Chelsea were absolutely right to issue the strongest possible rebuttal on behalf of their player.

The Blues will surely be hoping that the furore that’s erupted in the wake of the video being posted is something that Gallagher can put to the back of his mind too.

Three vital points are at stake on Thursday, and full focus needs to remain on the job in hand.

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