London (AFP) – Maccabi Haifa were forced to apologise to Tottenham on Wednesday after one of their players made an offensive comment about England captain Harry Kane in a social media video.
Haifa defender Mohammad Abu Fani posted a short clip last week in which he appeared to suggest Kane would be “on” his genitals when the two clubs meet in a Europa League play-off on Thursday.
The Israeli side were celebrating a victory over FC Rostov in the Europa League when the video was made.
Maccabi Haifa chief executive Assaf Ben-Dov attended the pre-match press conference to say sorry ahead of the tie in north London.
“I do not usually attend press conference but this time I felt it necessary to speak up,” he said.
“Following the match in Rostov, Russia, one of our players (made an) inappropriate comment that does not respect Tottenham Hotspur player Harry Kane.
“Our club condemns such behaviour. We are a club that advocates the person before the player.
“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Tottenham and Harry Kane, who we greatly respect. We wish them a successful season, thank you very much.”
Haifa manager Barak Bakhar claimed the video was not relevant, saying: “This is not really the most important thing, the most important thing is the football and this is not something that is interesting or relevant.”
But Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho was aware of the video and said several of his players were as well.
“Their last match was in Rostov and after that they had time for everything — they had time to rest, to analyse,” Mourinho said.
“Had time to prepare the team tactically and the reality is that in this moment, my players — the only thing they know about Maccabi is the funny video that the player did about us.”
Tottenham defender Matt Doherty had not seen the video when he was asked about it, but said a taunt of that nature could be used as extra motivation.
After being told what the video contained, the right-back said: “Oh really. Definitely you can use that.
“We are pretty motivated as it is, with the players we have and the manager we have, I guess you can use that as something a little bit extra to show them who the bosses are here.
“It is something that might get mentioned but I have to see the video first of all, I will have a look after this.”
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