English professional soccer Premier League club Chelsea has responded to allegations of racism against Saints youth player Connor Gallagher.

The Blues released a statement on their official website on Wednesday (March 3) to address the incident in the tunnel before the Burnley game.

“The club is aware of footage circulating on social media from Saturday’s match against Burnley. It has been taken significantly out of context,” the club said.

“The considerable level of vitriol directed at Connor Gallagher, which has a reputationally damaging and negative impact, is completely unacceptable. We are proud to be a diverse and inclusive organization where people of all cultures, communities and identities are welcome.”

Gallagher started the 2023-2024 Premier League season’s 30th round match against Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London, England, on Jan. 31.

The captain stood at the front of the tunnel before the game and prepared to enter with two mascot boys. One mascot was white and the other was black.

Gallagher exchanged pleasantries with the white boy and tapped the black boy on the shoulder. The black boy raised his hand for a high-five, but Gallagher didn’t see it and tried to bring the white boy forward.

The video ends there, and there were claims on social media that Gallagher was racist. However, at the time of the game, Gallagher was comfortable with the two boys and was not discriminating, simply not high-fiving them.

Mauricio Pochettino also defended Gallagher’s behavior in a press conference ahead of their upcoming match against Manchester United in three days, saying it was not discrimination.

Pochettino said: “The video made me really angry. Nobody tries to do that with 토토 that intention. If you play football and you are focused to start the game, sometimes things like that can happen,” Pochettino said.

He added: “People try to find something to create chaos and abuse. Gallagher is a great boy and always takes care of everything. I don’t like people who are casually abusive on social media. It’s so easy to abuse people. It’s so easy. Who thinks Gallagher’s intention is to disrespect the mascot? No one,” he added.

Gallagher, meanwhile, was born in 2000 and grew up in the Chelsea youth ranks and has continued to play for the Blues. This season, he has been leading Chelsea since the fifth round, wearing the captain’s armband.

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