The Brazilian caused uproar after posting a pair of videos to his Instagram page, and there’s a possibility the club will face an outright ban.
Kenedy’s insensitive Instagram posts may result in Chelsea being banned from China, Goal understands, amid an angry national backlash against the club.
The Brazilian attracted criticism for a pair of videos posted to his social media page during his side’s pre-season tour of the country.
The posts were considered offensive by many Chinese fans and Kenedy was jeered by large sections of the crowd during his side’s 3-0 friendly win over Arsenal in Beijing on Saturday.
Sources have confirmed to Goal that government authorities have ordered Chinese media to “withdraw all related stories about Chelsea from their dual homepages and news apps”.
Meanwhile, a source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there remains a remote possibility that Chelsea will suffer an outright ban, but that they will “closely monitor the situation”.
Chelsea have confirmed that Kenedy has been “strongly reprimanded and disciplined” for the posts that caused such outrage in China.
The 21-year-old said sorry with another post and deleted those that were deemed contentious, while the west London club issued an apology via their Chinese social media platforms. The Blues then went one stage further with another note of apology on Sunday.
“On July 22nd, Chelsea Football Club experienced the warmth and friendliness of Chinese fans at the National Stadium. However, we were surprised and disappointed that one day prior to the match, one of our young players, Kenedy, posted messages on his social media account that caused great offence and hurt the feelings of the people of China,” the statement began.
“Unfortunately, even though he quickly deleted the messages and apologised, and the club also apologised via our Chinese social media channels, the damage had already been done. Chelsea Football Club once again solemnly and sincerely apologises.
“Kenedy’s actions were a mistake that he will learn greatly from. His behaviour does not represent the entire team and does not align with the club’s high expectations and strict requirements of its young players. He has been strongly reprimanded and disciplined.
“Everyone at Chelsea Football Club has the utmost respect and admiration for China and loves our Chinese fans. It is because of this that the negative impact we have seen over the last two days has left us shocked and saddened. Once again, we sincerely apologise for the hurt caused to our Chinese fans as well as to the Chinese people.
“The match was a great cultural exchange event between China and Britain and the club is extremely grateful to China for its hospitality, which has brought us closer together in friendship. We very much hope to build on our strong relationship with our Chinese fans and friends, joining hands firmly with China in future for further cooperation
“We offer this apology with utmost sincerity. We have listened carefully to the criticism and will use the lessons learnt over the last two days to improve our processes in future.”
The People’s Daily , the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, reprimanded Chelsea in a harshly-worded editorial after the Blues issued their first short apology on Weibo.
“Best to keep your mouth shut, you troublemakers. If you do not learn to respect others, you will never earn the respect yourself.
“Kenedy is still defending himself in his apology, and Chelsea’s statement is perfunctory to say the least.
“The hospitable Chinese people don’t welcome such guest. As such Chelsea will be treated as a ‘persona non grata’ in the future.”
Chelsea is grovelling to China after ‘offensive’ posts by one of its players — but it might not be enough
Chelsea football club has issued a grovelling apology over offensive Instagram posts by one of its youth players, which threatened to alienate the authorities in a crucial market.
Robert Kenedy Nunes Nascimento, known as Kenedy, became a hate figure in China thanks to posts he made over the weekend which many in the country considered insulting.
The backlash is so severe that government authorities are reportedly considering taking action against Chelsea in response.
The club is currently touring China, a key football market for the Premier League champions.
Both posts have since been removed but an apology was made on Monday.
“I would like to apologise to the people of China for the offence I have caused,” Kenedy said. “It was never my intention to insult or offend anyone at all and I now realise that my comments were totally inappropriate.
“I wish to state that I have tremendous respect and admiration for the Chinese people and their country. I would also like to apologise to my club Chelsea… who I have let down by my posts.”
Kenedy’s apology is not enough
The media in China says Kenedy’s apology was not enough.
A report on People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese government, said: “Many insisted that the ‘apology’ was insincere and demanded a formal apology from Chelsea.”
People’s Daily also ran an opinion piece by reporter Qin Ning. The reporter said that, as a member of CFC playing in China, Kennedy’s actions “showed not just a lack of self-cultivation, but also a lack of education.”
It also warned: “China doesn’t welcome players and clubs like [Kennedy and Chelsea FC].”
Chelsea apologised profusely. “We sincerely apologise for the hurt caused to our Chinese fans as well as to the Chinese people.”
Chelsea could face a media blackout in China
Chelsea will be taking the offence seriously.
China is a lucrative football market for Premier League clubs in terms of fan engagement. Football-only website Goal.com has reported that the Chinese government could retaliate with a total blackout of all media coverage of Chelsea inside China.
“Sources have confirmed to Goal that government authorities have ordered Chinese media to ‘withdraw all related stories about Chelsea from their dual homepages and news apps’.
“Meanwhile, a source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there remains a remote possibility that Chelsea will suffer an outright ban, but that they will ‘closely monitor the situation’.”
By ALAN DAWSON