Legendary former Manchester City midfielder has been forced to quit the World XI team for the Soccer Aid charity match.
YAYA TOURÉ made the announcement that he will not take part in the game at Old Trafford following what he called an “inappropriate joke” shared in a WhatsApp exchange with his fellow teammates.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Touré said he regretted any negative publicity that may have deflected from the fundraising game for Unicef.
I made an inappropriate joke that I regret deeply and want to apologise.
Please read my apology in full: pic.twitter.com/NG9CMaqFqw
— Yaya Touré (@YayaToure) September 5, 2020
“I would like to apologise to everyone involved in Soccer Aid for an inappropriate joke I deeply regret,” he wrote.
“It was meant as a joke however I lacked thorough consideration for the feelings of other participants.”
The former Manchester City midfielder who now plies his trade for Qingdao Huanghai of the Chinese First League, continued, “That being said I deleted the jokes within minutes and I immediately apologised to all inside the group.”
Touré, who would have loved the chance to compete on a ground that he enjoyed success as a City player, added, “We gather for a good cause and this deviates the focus of the game which is to bring everyone together to help children around the world.”
“It’s sad to see an inappropriate joke I made attract the attention which should be fully devoted to the beauty of the charity game.”
The former Barcelona player added: “Regardless of the circumstances, I want to take full responsibility. I am a grown man who should not be engaged in such jokes.
“I am very sorry for my mistake and I wish everyone all the best with Soccer Aid on Sunday in raising awareness and funds for important causes.”
Soccer Aid began as a charity football match in 2006 pitting an England team against a Rest of the World team.
Teams are made up of Men, Women, Celebrities and former players.
The game takes place today, Sunday 6, on ITV, 6.30pm (UK)/ 7.30pm (Spain).
“Soccer Aid for Unicef has discussed the above with the individual involved and he has decided to no longer continue to participate in this year’s event,” a spokesperson from Soccer Aid explained.
“While it was an error of judgement, it was felt that the behaviour didn’t align with the values of the event and its cause, and it was the right thing for him to step back from this year’s match,” they concluded.
Covid-19 has forced this year’s Soccer Aid match to be played behind closed doors.
The England XI team are being managed by Wayne Rooney and Sam Allardyce, while the World XI are being coached by Harry Redknapp and Bryan Robson.