Chelsea ‘welcome’ response over Mendy photo fiasco that led to racism accusations

Chelsea have responded after a photo agency issued an apology for a mistake that caused goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to claim black people in England and France "have neither names nor distinct faces".

AFP wrote a letter directly to the Champions League winner explaining how he was mixed up with rape suspect Benjamin Mendy.

Penned by its Global News Director Philip Chetwynd, the document was shared by the west London club on its social media channels.

"AFP would like to sincerely apologise for the mistake involving two photographs of you taken by our photographer during Chelesea's Premier League match against Manchester City on September 25," it began.

"The photographs were wrongly captioned by a photo editor working under pressure for real time deadlines. It was an honest case of human error by an editor working at speed.

"As soon as we realised the mistake, we corrected the caption on the two photographs and the correction was very clearly flagged to our clients. Unfortunately some of our clients used the incorrectly captioned pictures before they were corrected.

"The error is all the more unfortunate because we take enormous care in our photo production.

"In fact, we have taken hundreds of photographs of you that are correctly captioned, including some during the same match against City.

"The two were, regrettably, the exception. We would like to once again apologize for the mistake."

The error in question saw Edouard Mendy confused with Manchester City left-back Benjamin Mendy, who is currently behind bars waiting to go on trial in January while accused of six counts of rape. 

Chelsea shot-stopper Edouard took to social media to blast the blunder, which also saw his cousin and Real Madrid star Ferland Mendy's photo used by some outlets.

"Sad to see that, in 2021, in France as well as in England, for some, black people have neither names nor distinct faces," he wrote on an Instagram story.

"These 'mistakes' of photos appear anecdotal, but actually they are quite the opposite – they are highly symbolic.

"It's not that complicated to differentiate two faces – especially when the football jersey is of valuable help."

Ferland tweeted: "We are in 2021. Stop. It will take time but you will eventually respect us. Whether you want to or not".

French radio station RFI has also since apologized to Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea said they welcomed the apology from AFP "for the misuse of a picture of Edouard Mendy in recent news stories entirely unrelated to our player".

The Blues and Mendy host Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday, when a point would guarantee their progress to the knockout stage.

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