How much does a glaring act of dissension cost you?
A week’s worth of pay.
That’s the amount Chelsea fined goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga after he refused to be substituted late in the Blues’ loss to Manchester City in Sunday’s League Cup final, according to a club statement.
Kepa, whose $91 million release clause last summer made him the most expensive keeper in history, reportedly makes about £195,000 a week, or $256,000.
“Although there was a misunderstanding, on reflection, I made a big mistake with how I handled the situation,” Kepa said in the statement. “I wanted to take the time today to apologise fully and in person to the coach, to (backup keeper Willy Caballero), my team-mates and to the club. I have done this and now I want to offer the same apology to the fans. I will learn from this episode and will accept any punishment or discipline the club decides is appropriate.”
The club also issued a statement on behalf of manager Maurizio Sarri, who said Kepa apologized to the squad.
“Kepa and I have spoken about the incident. It was a good conversation,” the statement read. “There was a misunderstanding yesterday but he realises he made a big mistake in the way he reacted.”
The punishment seems light compared to the egregiousness of Kepa’s actions, which basically never happen at the highest levels and spawned tons of backlash around the soccer world. The wages will be donated to charity.
Daily Mirror reporter John Cross, who’s as dialed in as anyone in London, has maintained Kepa, Sarri and Chelsea are actually united in their feelings on the incident and are moving past it:
Good move by Chelsea in the hope to draw a line under this - his fine of a week's wages going to the club's charity Foundation. Kepa has apologised to Sarri, team mates and the fans. https://t.co/LoKCQKdsxC
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) February 25, 2019
It remains to be seen if that’s the case. On the outside, a token fine won’t do anything to quiet the reaction.
Joey Gulino is the editor of Yahoo Soccer and moonlights as a writer. Follow him on Twitter at @JGulinoYahoo.
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