Chelsea forced to grovel after Kenedy PR disaster in China

Brazilian winger sent home from tour after infuriating hosts with insulting messages on social media

Kenedy Chelsea
Winger Kenedy in action for Chelsea
(Image credit: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

Pre-season tours of far-flung countries have become a staple for Premier League clubs hoping to tap into lucrative new markets but as Chelsea have discovered such trips can be risky.

The club's visit to China has become something of a PR disaster thanks to a string of social media posts from young winger Kenedy. These have resulted in his banishment from the squad and prompted an angry reaction in the Chinese state media.

The winger's now-deleted Instagram posts included a video of a sleeping security guard with the caption: "Wake up China, you idiot." And another video in which he used an expletive to describe the country.

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They didn't go unnoticed and Kenedy was booed during the match against Arsenal in Beijing at the weekend. The state-sponsored People's Daily newspaper warned that "the hospitable Chinese people don't welcome such guest" and said "Chelsea will be treated as a 'persona non grata' in the future".

Chelsea are "deeply concerned" by the reaction, says The Times. "Chelsea disciplined Kenedy for the posts and issued a long and detailed apology."

In a statement written in Chinese and English on its website, Chelsea apologised "solemnly and sincerely" for the offence.

Chelsea had "experienced the warmth and friendliness of Chinese fans" during the tour said the statement, but acknowledged that Kenedy had "caused great offence and hurt the feelings of the people of China".

"Kenedy's actions were a mistake that he will learn greatly from," said the Blues. "His behaviour does not represent the entire team and does not align with our expectations and strict requirements of the young players."

The Brazilian winger, signed from Fluminese in 2015, is now "facing an uncertain future", says the Daily Telegraph, which adds that the episode has been "deeply embarrassing" for the Premier League champions.

"Kenedy will play no further part in the club's tour and has flown home from Singapore, with his Chelsea future now almost certainly under threat," says the paper. "It is believed he was also fined after Chelsea admitted he had been 'strongly reprimanded and disciplined'."

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