Barcelona have hinted that their players Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele could face punishment after a controversial video from 2019 surfaced on social media.
The footage, taken before a Barca pre-season friendly, shows Griezmann and club and France teammate Dembele laughing at Japanese hotel staff who were fixing a TV.
Both players have made public statements apologising and deny that any comments made were racist.
But that has not stopped companies such as Konami and Yu-Gi-Oh cutting ties with Griezmann, while Barca manager Ronald Koeman is believed to be prepared to sell the Frenchman.
And on Wednesday afternoon Barcelona released a statement strongly condemning the conduct of their two forwards.
It read: “FC Barcelona deeply regret the displeasure amongst Japanese and Asian fans and partners of our Club caused by a video that appeared a few days ago on social media in which two first team players (Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann) displayed a lack of respect in their attitude towards several employees in the hotel in which they were staying.
“This attitude in no way coincides with the values that FC Barcelona represents and defends.
“The values of the Club and its sponsors should be something that FC Barcelona protects, and this belief is present at all levels of the organisation, from the Board of Directors and executives to the players in the Club’s various sporting teams.
“The Club is committed to improving its education on questions of race, discrimination and diversity. At FC Barcelona there is no place for racism or discrimination.
“FC Barcelona would like to apologise publicly to all the Club’s fans and partners who feel unhappy about this event from the summer of 2019, a time when the Club’s responsibilities fell to a Board Directors and executive team previous to the current. The Board of Directors that today manage the Club are committed to making sure episodes of this nature do not repeat themselves.
“The players have already shown their regret and have apologised to Japanese fans and partners, something that the Club values. Nevertheless, FC Barcelona reserve the right to take the internal measures that it considers appropriate.”
Griezmann and Dembele have long been linked with moves to the Premier League, and with Barcelona in dire need of getting some of their highest-earning players off their wage bill, it would come as no surprise if they take this opportunity to attempt to sell both stars.