Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea management condemn Conor Gallagher abuse after midfielder is accused of racism

Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea management condemn Conor Gallagher abuse after midfielder is accused of racism

Chelsea have condemned the abuse Conor Gallagher has faced on social media after a video went viral which appeared to show the midfielder ignoring a young mascot.

The incident in question occurred in the moments leading up to Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Burnley in the Premier League last weekend, in which Cole Palmer scored both of the home team’s goals at Stamford Bridge.

Gallagher, who has worn the captain’s armband in Reece James’ absence this season, was seen speaking with two of Chelsea’s matchday mascots as the two teams lined up in the tunnel in west London.

But as one of the mascots held out his hand for Gallagher, the England international inadvertently left the youngster hanging and the short clip immediately began doing the rounds across social media.

In the days that followed, Gallagher’s social media accounts were flooded with comments from online users, with some even accusing the 24-year-old of racism, while others united in defence of Chelsea’s stand-in skipper.

In a statement this afternoon, Chelsea said the level of abuse that Gallagher had received in the intervening period was ‘completely unacceptable’, underlining that the club were ‘proud’ of their diversity and inclusivity.

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‘Chelsea Football Club is aware of a video clip circulating on social media from Saturday’s fixture against Burnley, which has been taken considerably out of context,’ the statement read.

‘The subsequent level of abuse and defamatory comments directed towards Conor Gallagher is completely unacceptable.’

‘We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome.’

Gallagher went on to play 62 minutes of Chelsea’s draw with Burnley, with Noni Madueke coming on in his place as the hosts searched for an equaliser against the ten-man visitors.

At his press conference this afternoon, an ‘upset’ Mauricio Pochettino jumped to Gallagher’s defence and insisted it would never have been the midfielder’s intention to ignore a young mascot.

‘That has upset me so much because no-one wants to do something like this, with this intention,’ Pochettino told reporters.

‘He was so well, there are so many videos and photography and pictures showing Conor being really well with both mascots. And then.. when you play football, and you are there, and you are focusing on too many things, you’re focusing to play and to start the game.

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‘Look, that sometimes can happen. But I think people want to abuse people, people always try to find things to create a mess and to abuse the people that, if you know them, I know Conor, I know the people that are involved here in Chelsea.’

The Argentine added: ‘I can talk for the people that I know and, come on, there is never that intention. Conor is a great, great kid and always is caring about everything.

‘I hate when people feel free to abuse on social media and things like this. You don’t believe that we need to stop all these types of things?

‘It’s like today, it’s so easy to abuse people and then to pay attention to it [the controversy] when these types of things never happened, to give too much attention to people who want to create this type of mess and to insult and to abuse other people. Please stop. I think we are all responsible about that.

‘How is it possible to believe that the intention of Conor is to ignore a mascot? Come on! It makes me very, very sad. I know Conor and he does not deserve to be abused. No-one deserves to be abused, but knowing him, come on, it’s not [right]. I am seeing too many things that are happening, not only in England but the rest of the world.’

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According to Pochettino, the media industry must unite with football as a whole to ‘support’ individuals when they are subjected to such abuse.

‘I think our responsibility, and the [media’s] responsibility, is to altogether try to ignore all these types of things,’ the Chelsea head coach continued.

‘The people who try to create these things never help our life. For me, it’s about supporting Conor, to support all the people that sometimes get abused.’

Gallagher has been one of Chelsea’s few shining lights in an otherwise disappointing campaign, racking up two goals and five assists with the side languishing down in 12th in the Premier League table.

The Chelsea academy product was named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for England’s Euro 2024 warm-up matches last month and played 75 minutes of the Three Lions’ 1-0 defeat to Brazil.

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