Yaya Toure has apologised for an “inappropriate joke” after offering to hire sex workers for his Soccer Aid team.
Married dad Toure, 37, boasted in a WhatsApp group chat that he could bring 19 girls to the side’s five-star hotel in Cheshire, and also posted a pornographic video showing a naked woman in a bath.
He was axed from this weekend’s event, and tweeted an apology.
“I would like to apologise to everyone involved in Soccer Aid for an inappropriate joke I deeply regret,” he wrote.
I made an inappropriate joke that I regret deeply and want to apologise.
Please read my apology in full: pic.twitter.com/NG9CMaqFqw
— Yaya Touré (@YayaToure) September 5, 2020
“It was meant as a joke however I lacked thorough consideration for the feelings of all the other participants.
“That being said I deleted the jokes within minutes and I immediately apologised to all inside the group.”
Toure said he wanted to “take full responsibility” for his mistake.
“We gather for a good cause and this deviates the focus of the game which is to bring everyone together to help children around the world,” he wrote.
“It’s sad to see an inappropriate joke I made attract the attention which should be fully devoted to the beauty of the charity game.
“Regardless of the circumstances, I want to take full responsibility. I am a grown man who should not be engaged in such jokes.
“I am very sorry for my mistake and wish everyone all the best with Soccer Aid on Sunday in raising awareness and funds for important causes.”
Toure sparked a string of complaints from his appalled team-mates, who included several female players as well as celebrities.
They called on Soccer Aid and ITV bosses to axe Toure from the game, held annually in support of children’s charity Unicef.
Toure, who has three children with wife Gina, deleted the messages and issued an apology but got the boot from Sunday’s game.
An insider said: “Everyone at Soccer Aid was disgusted by Yaya’s messages.
“There is a WhatsApp group for his team, the World XI, and everyone had been chatting in it.
“Without being prompted, Yaya posted a video of a naked woman in a bath.
“She was acting in a lewd manner and it was highly inappropriate.
“He went on to say he could get 19 women like the one in the video to come to the hotel to the pleasure of those playing the match.
“It was absolutely disgraceful and caused a huge amount of distress to some of the people who received the messages.
“Soccer Aid is a charity game and is raising money for children.
“So to have one of the players, especially one who is supposed to be a professional, making such lewd and gross suggestions is despicable.”
Midfielder Yaya, who left Manchester City in 2018, sent the X-rated messages on Thursday night.
The WhatsApp group was made up of his team-mates from his World XI side – including ex-Man United star Patrice Evra and female players Julie Fleeting, Lianne Sanderson and Chelcee Grimes.
Players and coaches from their England XI opponents were also in the group.
A string of complaints were then made to Soccer Aid and ITV, which is broadcasting the match live.
The insider added: “The messages turned the stomachs of the women, along with the men.
“The atmosphere among both teams had been so good and spirits were high. These messages have really soured the mood.
“Julie, Lianne and Chelcee made their feelings clear about how wrong they thought his messages were. They called for Toure to be taken off the team.”
After bosses at Unicef and ITV were notified of the content, Yaya was told to delete them.
He was then forced to apologise to everyone who received the messages and was warned his place in the squad was in jeopardy.
However, feelings were running high during breakfast at the hotel this morning, with many feeling he should get the boot.
A source explained: “Within a few minutes his messages had been deleted and Yaya got a mouthful from the bosses.
“He repeatedly apologised to them and also said he was sincerely sorry for what he had posted to those in the group.