Chelsea and FIFA launch investigation, Enzo Fernandez apologises for ‘offensive’ song

Chelsea and FIFA launch investigation, Enzo Fernandez apologises for ‘offensive’ song

Chelsea and FIFA are investigating after midfielder Enzo Fernandez apologised for an “offensive” video posted on his Instagram account.

The French Football Federation said on Tuesday it would file a legal complaint over allegations of “racially offensive and discriminatory remarks” made by Argentine players following Argentina’s victory over Colombia in the Copa America.

The complaint follows a video posted by Chelsea midfielder Fernandez in which he and his team-mates can be seen chanting slogans for the French national team as they celebrated their 1-0 victory in Sunday’s final.

On Tuesday evening, Fernandez posted a statement on his Instagram account, writing: “I want to sincerely apologize for the video posted on my Instagram channel while celebrating the national team’s victory.

“The song contains very offensive words and there is no excuse for their use.

“I oppose discrimination in all its forms and I apologize for getting carried away by the euphoria of our Copa America celebrations. This video, this moment, these words do not reflect my beliefs or my character. I am truly sorry.”

Fernandez’s French club teammate Wesley Fofana posted a video on his social media account with the message: “Football in 2024: Unlimited racism.”

Chelsea issued a statement on Wednesday morning welcoming Fernandez’s apology while announcing disciplinary action. World football governing body FIFA also said it was investigating.

“Chelsea Football Club believes that any form of discriminatory behaviour is completely unacceptable,” the statement read.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the public apology from our player and will use this as an educational opportunity. The club has initiated an internal disciplinary procedure.”

A FIFA spokesman said: “FIFA is aware of the video circulating on social media and the incident is being investigated. FIFA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination by anyone, including players, fans and officials.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the FFF – French football’s governing body – said its president Philippe Diallo would summon FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Argentine Football Association president Claudio Fabian Tapia to respond to the alleged remarks.

The statement said: “The president of the French Football Federation, Philippe Diallo, strongly condemns the unacceptable racist and discriminatory remarks that were made against the French national team players in the context of the song sung by the players and fans of the Argentine national team after their victory in the Copa America and broadcast in a video on social media.

Enzo Fernandez
Enzo Fernandez of Argentina celebrates his team’s third goal scored by Lionel Messi during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

“Given the seriousness of these shocking remarks, contrary to the values ​​of sport and human rights, the FFF President has decided to directly challenge his Argentine counterpart and FIFA by filing a legal complaint for offensive remarks of a racist and discriminatory nature.”

Argentina defeated France on penalties in the 2022 World Cup final. During the match, some fans of the Argentine team sang discriminatory songs.

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out said: “The video of the Argentina team singing a discriminatory chant is unacceptable and must definitely be stopped. We stand with Wesley Fofana and give him our full support after he responded publicly and brought it to the attention of a wider audience.

Enzo Fernandez
Enzo Fernandez from Chelsea. Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

“While Enzo Fernandez has apologised and Chelsea have said they will investigate the incident, several players are singing the song, meaning it will have a wider impact on team-mates and fans at other clubs. We call on all relevant clubs, the Argentine Football Association and FIFA to address this disturbing issue with empathy, sensitivity and understanding.

“The response to these incidents cannot begin and end with an apology. What is more important is the action taken afterwards to ensure players are educated and held to account, both in England and globally.”

It is understood that Fernandez has privately apologised to his Chelsea team-mates, but the club’s players continue to criticise his actions.