Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of the Rakuten group, the major sponsor of FC Barcelona since 2017, has reacted firmly to the racist remarks made in a video of Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann.
were accused of anti-Asian racism after the release of a video showing them making fun of Japanese technicians.
Both players have offered apologies but
hit out at the pair in a statement on his Twitter account.
'As a sponsor of the club and organizer of this tournament, I am really sorry that the Barcelona players made discriminatory remarks.
'Especially as Rakuten has approved of the Barcelona philosophy and is a sponsor of the club, these sorts of remarks are unacceptable in all circumstances and we will protest officially against the club, as we wait to hear their position on the matter.'
It is understood that the technicians were fixing a problem in the hotel room and three men were in conversation around a television screen.
It is thought to be Dembele, who can be heard in the video telling Griezmann:
'All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES [Pro Evolution Soccer], aren't you ashamed?'
Then Dembele adds
: 'What kind of backward language is that?' and 'Are you technologically advanced in your country or not?'
On Monday, Dembele wrote in a statement: '
Recently, a private video from 2019 has been circulating on social networks.
'The scene happens to be in Japan. It could have taken place anywhere on the planet, I would have used the same expressions.
'So I wasn't targeting any community. I sometimes use these kinds of expressions in private, with friends, regardless of their origin.'
Dembele added: 'This video is now public. I can therefore imagine that it could have offended the people present in these images. Therefore, I offer them my most sincere apologies.'
, meanwhile, was also quick to issue an apology on Twitter, writing:
'I have been committed against any form of discrimination. For the past few days, some people have wanted to pass me off as the man I am not.
'I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I am sorry if I [offended] my Japanese friends.'
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