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Chelsea condemns online abuse of Conor Gallagher; Club says pregame video taken ‘out of context’

Chelsea has condemned abuse of its captain Conor Gallagher after he was criticized for appearing not to acknowledge a high five from a Black child moments before a Premier League match.

The footage was taken in the tunnel at Stamford Bridge before Saturday’s game against Burnley with children lining up to escort players onto the field. Moments earlier, Gallagher touched hands with another child, who is white.

The Premier League club said the video, which was shared on social media, had been taken “considerably out of context.”

“The subsequent level of abuse and defamatory comments directed towards Conor Gallagher is completely unacceptable,” it said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome.”

Chelsea published a picture of Gallagher, who is white, walking out onto the field with his arms around the shoulders of both children.

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Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino also defended his player.

“People always try to find things to create a mess,” he told a news conference. “Conor is a great kid and always is caring about everything. I hate how people feel free to abuse on social media.

“How is it possible to believe that Conor’s intention is to ignore a mascot? Come on. It makes me very sad.”

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