Konami has announced that it will be cutting all ties with Barcelona and France football star Antoine Griezmann.
The news comes in the wake of a recently shared video from 2019 that alleges to show Griezmann and teammate Ousmane Dembele making racist comments about Asian technicians at a hotel room (as reported by ESPN).
It’s alleged that at one point in the video, Dembele gestures to the staff and asks Griezmann: “All these ugly faces, just so you can play PES? Aren’t you ashamed?”
Griezmann had recently signed a deal with Konami to become an ambassador for its Yu-Gi-Oh! range of games and cartoons, but Konami now says that deal is off.
A statement from the Japanese publisher reads: “Konami Digital Entertainment believes, as is the philosophy of sports, that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable.
“We had announced Griezmann as our Yu-Gi-Oh! content ambassador, however in light of recent events we have decided to cancel the contract.
“With regard to our eFootball PES franchise, we will be requesting FC Barcelona, as a club partner, explain the details of this case and any future action.”
Griezmann tweeted an apology on Monday, saying: “I have always been committed against any form of discrimination. For the past few days, some people have wanted to pass me off as the man I am not. I firmly refute the accusations made against me and I am sorry if I offended my Japanese friends.”
Konami rebranded its long-running Pro Evolution Soccer series with 2019’s instalment, which was titled eFootball PES 2020 as part of a product refresh designed to highlight the publisher’s growing focus on the esports market.