Maccabi Haifa have issued an apology to Tottenham after one of their players made a degrading comment about Harry Kane in a video that has gone viral.
Haifa defender Mohammad Abu Fani posted a short clip suggesting Kane would be on his genitals when the two clubs meet in the Europa League play-off on Thursday.
The Israeli champions had just set up a tie with Spurs in north London and were celebrating when the video was made.
Maccabi Haifa chief executive Assaf Ben-Dov attended the pre-match press conference to release a statement.
He said: “I do not usually attend press conference but this time I felt it necessary to speak up.
“Following the match in Rostov, Russia, one of our players (made an) inappropriate comment that does not respect Tottenham Hotspur player Harry Kane.
“Our club condemns such behaviour. We are a club that advocates the person before the player.
“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Tottenham and Harry Kane, who we greatly respect. We wish them a successful season, thank you very much.”
Haifa’s manager struck a very different tone, though, when asked by the PA news agency whether the video could provide extra motivation for Spurs.
Barak Bakhar said: “This is not really the most important thing, the most important thing is the football and this is not something that is interesting or relevant.”
Bakhar’s counterpart Jose Mourinho is aware of it and referenced it during his pre-match conference.
The Portuguese said: “Their last match was in Rostov and after that they had time for everything – they had time to rest, to analyse.
“Had time to prepare the team tactically and the reality is that in this moment, my players – the only thing they know about Maccabi is the funny video that the player did about us.”
Matt Doherty had not seen the video when he was asked about it, but said something like that can be used as extra motivation.
After being told what the video contained, the right-back said: “Oh really….Definitely you can use that.
“We are pretty motivated as it is, with the players we have and the manager we have, I guess you can use that as something a little bit extra to show them who the bosses are here.
“It is something that might get mentioned but I have to see the video first of all, I will have a look after this.”