Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele has issued unreserved apology after a leaked social media video appeared to show him mocking Asian technicians’ background and appearance.
It is believed that the technicians were trying to solve a problem in a hotel room, with three men in conversation gathered around an illuminated television screen and one wearing a t-shirt with ‘The Staff’ on the back.
In the video, Dembele mocked their looks, language and the country’s supposed ‘technological advance’, but now the France international has offered his ‘sincere apologies’ for the 2019 clip.
His France and Barcelona team-mate Antoine Griezmann also appears in the leaked clip
Dembele took to Instagram to post his apology in both French and English on Monday
He wrote in a statement: ‘Recently, a private video from 2019 has been circulating on social networks.
‘The scene happens to be in Japan. It could have taken place anywhere on the planet, I would have used the same expressions.
‘So I wasn’t targeting any community. I sometimes use these kinds of expressions in private, with friends, regardless of their origin.’
Dembele added: ‘This video is now public. I can therefore imagine that it could have offended the people present in these images. Therefore, I offer them my most sincere apologies.’
It is thought to be Dembele, who can be heard in the video telling Griezmann: ‘All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES [Pro Evolution Soccer], aren’t you ashamed?’
Griezmann says something at the start which is inaudible but is then seen just laughing
Griezmann, meanwhile, was also quick to issue an apology on Twitter, writing: ‘I have always been committed against any form of discrimination. For the past few days, some people have wanted to pass me off as the man I am not.
‘I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I am sorry if I [offended] my Japanese friends.
The Barcelona and France pair are known to be good friends and are often seen joking around at training sessions for club and country.