Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has said that Dele Alli does not deserve to be punished over his joke about the coronavirus outbreak which has killed 1,380 persons in China.
FutballNews understands that the English midfielder posted a Snapchat video on his official account captioned “Corona whattt [sic], please listen with volume”. The video showed him wearing a facemask in an airport departure lounge and mocking victims of the deadly virus.
Moments later, Alli zoomed the camera towards an Asian man thereby mocking him before focusing his camera on a bottle of antiseptic hand wash. The Spurs midfielder then captioned the second video as “This virus gunna have to be quicker than that to catch me”. After a series of backlash, the Spurs player quickly deleted it and issued a public apology.
Reacting to the video, a leading anti-discrimination campaigner condemned Alli for the video and accused him of “harmful and dangerous racism”. The Football Association has also written to Alli to ask for his observations concerning the video and has begun disciplinary action against the midfielder.
Speaking on the incident during his press conference ahead of Tottenham’s clash against Aston Villa on Sunday, Mourinho said he has spoken with the midfielder on the matter and it was an “easy conversation”. The Portuguese manager added that he was impressed that Ali regretted the sad incident.
The Spurs boss also dismissed claims that Alli deserves the same punishment Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva received for his tweet to Benjamin Mendy. Silva was banned by the FA for one match and fined 50,000 pounds.
Mourinho said: “I feel that would be unnecessary, but I am nobody,” he said. “In relation to these decisions, I am nobody.
“I am somebody in relation to Dele process of, let’s say, professional education and I felt it so, so easy because of the way he reacted.
“So I think it is unnecessary because the player understands the naivety of the situation, the player is a good guy, the player even in the dressing room has a big Asian friend that he loves.
“It was not his intention to offend, he apologised immediately, regretted and recognised it was a young guy mistake, a young generation mistake and he apologised.”
“So, my conversation [with Alli] was easy, as it was not one of a contradiction of ideas. It was not him not understanding why I was unhappy, so it was so simple.
“What can I say? He regrets and, for me, that’s the best feeling he can show, and to have the humility to apologise I think is also remarkable, because sometimes these young people make mistakes and don’t realise – so this conversation was so easy.
“I have a son and daughter basically at the same age as Dele and many of my players – I know what social media is for this generation.
“But when you are a public person like footballers are, they have to know and have to be very careful.
“I repeat, Dele is a great guy. The last thing Dele is is anything connected with racism or disrespect, not at all, but these are current mistakes that some people sometimes make. But again, the good thing for me is regret and apologise, so for me it’s end of story.
“I’m not the FA, I’m just his manager, his friend. I repeat, at the same age I have two great kids in my house, and I have to act as an educator and I think the best way to do it is immediately his reaction – regret and apologised.”
The Spurs manager also expressed the club’s support for China and the victims of Coronavirus. He added that the club may consider travelling to Asia for pre-season, having visited Shanghai and Singapore last summer.
“All I can say is our solidarity with everyone, with everyone fearing the situation – especially with China, but all over the world,” Mourinho said.
“Our solidarity is with people with problems to the Coronavirus, especially to the ones that died and the families that are suffering.
“Are we thinking about going to Asia in the next pre-season? Yes we are, but of course we need guarantees of safety for our people.
“But in this moment we are not thinking about that, we are thinking about the ones there and the ones that are living the problem.”