Chelsea have issued an apology to the people of China over Kennedy’s “offensive social media posts” during the club’s visit to the country.
Brazil under 20 international, Kennedy, was booed during Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Arsenal in Beijing on Saturday after posting disrespectful messages about China on his Instagram account.
In response, Chelsea issued a bilingual statement on their official website on Sunday titled: “Chelsea Football Club apology to Chinese people for player’s offensive social media posts” in which the club said the 21-year-old winger had been “strongly reprimanded and disciplined.”
The statement read: “On July 22nd, Chelsea Football Club experienced the warmth and friendliness of Chinese fans at the National Stadium. However, we were surprised and disappointed that one day prior to the match, one of our young players, Kennedy, posted messages on his social media account that caused great offence and hurt the feelings of the people of China.
“Unfortunately, even though he quickly deleted the messages and apologised, and the club also apologised via our Chinese social media channels, the damage had already been done. Chelsea Football Club once again solemnly and sincerely apologises.
“Kennedy’s actions were a mistake that he will learn greatly from. His behaviour does not represent the entire team and does not align with the club’s high expectations and strict requirements of its young players. He has been strongly reprimanded and disciplined.
“Everyone at Chelsea Football Club has the utmost respect and admiration for China and loves our Chinese fans. It is because of this that the negative impact we have seen over the last two days has left us shocked and saddened. Once again, we sincerely apologise for the hurt caused to our Chinese fans as well as to the Chinese people.
“The match was a great cultural exchange event between China and Britain and the club is extremely grateful to China for its hospitality, which has brought us closer together in friendship. We very much hope to build on our strong relationship with our Chinese fans and friends, joining hands firmly with China in future for further cooperation
“We offer this apology with utmost sincerity. We have listened carefully to the criticism and will use the lessons learnt over the last two days to improve our processes in future.”
Kenedy had earlier issued an apology — since deleted — on his Instagram account stressing that he had not intended any racism and saying: “Just wanna say sorry if someone was sad.”