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Yaya Toure quits charity match, apologises for 'inappropriate' Whatsapp joke

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Former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure has apologised for making an "inappropriate" joke on a Whatsapp group which has seen him withdraw from a charity match.

Toure, 37, was set to feature in the UNICEF Soccer Aid game at Old Trafford on Sunday but will no longer participate after sharing content with his teammates.

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Toure released a statement on Twitter on Saturday which read:"I would like to apologise to everyone involved in Soccer Aid for an inappropriate joke I deeply regret.

"It was meant as a joke however I lacked thorough consideration for the feelings of other participants. That being said I deleted the jokes within minutes and I immediately apologised to all inside the group.

"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.

"Regardless of the circumstances, I want to take full responsibility. I am a grown man who should not be engaged in such jokes."

The former Ivory Coast international featured in the 2018 edition where he played alongside Eric Cantona, Edwin van der Sar and Usain Bolt.

A UNICEF spokesperson told Sky News: "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.

"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."

The match will be played behind closed doors for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic with Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney managing the England XI.