Tottenham's Alli suspended vs. Man United, fined for coronavirus post

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Dele Alli will miss Tottenham's clash with Manchester United after being hit with a one-game ban and £50,000 fine for appearing to mock an Asian man over the coronavirus in a social media post.

Alli, 24, will also be asked to take an educational course after an Independent Regulatory Commission investigation concluded he was guilty of misconduct relating to a Snapchat post made on Feb. 6.

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The midfielder was found in breach of Football Association Rule E3(2), as it was "insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute, and constituted an "Aggravated Breach", which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included a reference, "whether express or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin and/or nationality."

The news will come as a significant blow to Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, as Alli will miss Spurs' first match back after the Premier League season was stopped due to COVID-19, with Tottenham and United separated by just four points in the table.

"In response to the FA decision, I would like to apologise again for any offence caused by my actions on Feb. 6," Alli said.

"It was an extremely poorly judged joke about a virus that has now affected us more than we could ever have imagined.

"I'm grateful the FA has confirmed that my actions were not racist because I despite racism of any kind. We all need to be mindful of the words and actions we use and how they can be perceived by others."

Alli was sat in an airport lounge at Heathrow airport ahead of a midseason break to Dubai when posting a series of videos on Snapchat. The first showed a man with the caption: "Corona whatttttt, please listen with volume."

The second showed Alli wearing a mask and displaying a bottle of hand wash with the caption: "This virus gonna have to be quicker than that to catch me."

Alli deleted the post within minutes and apologised twice, in English and Chinese, but while the Football Association did not argue that the midfielder was a racist, they claimed he advanced an "unacceptable racist stereotype in a misguided attempt at humour."

The England international argued in response that he decided to record the person coughing as a joke aimed at himself and his apparent overreaction rather than focusing in on him because of his ethnicity.

The commission concluded that "the creation and distribution of the offending material was more the product of spontaneous ill-judged stupidity rather than any sense of malicious intent."

Alli's sanction is the same as the punishment issued to Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva last November when he compared teammate Benjamin Mendy to the character on a packet of confectionary in a social media post. On that occasion, the commission also accepted Silva did not intend to be racist but banned him due to the connotations involved.

Unlike Silva's post, Alli's was meant to be shared only with a private audience of around 160 "friends and colleagues" but was leaked to a newspaper. Alli must attend an education programme within a four-month period starting from Monday, the date of the hearing.