Experts have claimed that controversy caused by Chelsea’s Kennedy should serve as a warning for clubs visiting China.
Kennedy sparked plenty of controversy with a pair of dubious posts about China on his Instagram account.
Chelsea and Kennedy were both forced to apologise amid rather extreme cries that they had insulted China and should be banned from the country.
Chen Zhongjie, head of global strategic business at Chinese sports marketing firm Hupu.com, has said that while the whole thing was blown out of proportion, it should serve as a warning for visiting clubs in the future.
“It is quite obvious that Chelsea didn’t pay enough attention to this at the beginning, which led to the continuation of the negative impact,” Chen said, as reported by World Soccer Talk.
“It seems they are being pushed by public opinion instead of actively handling the issue. They still let Kenedy on the pitch after this (last Saturday against Arsenal in Beijing).
“This thing will blow over quite soon and the Chinese football fans will forgive Chelsea, but they will not forgive Kenedy.
“Chelsea’s experience is a warning to other clubs — if you want to tap into the Chinese market you must be sincere and respectful.”
The controversy isn’t expected to have much of a negative impact on Chelsea’s influence in China. Kennedy is practically a no-name player over there and people will soon forget it ever happened.
Nonetheless, there a couple of obvious lessons to be learned from this.
One is that footballers are human, and that giving stupid humans unmoderated access to social media is just asking for trouble.
The other is to not act like Chelsea.
Arsenal have only started doing these international tours recently, and have so far conducted themselves in a respectful manner. After all, it’s common sense not to insult the country you’re visiting in hopes of exploiting the thousands of fans in that country.