After all that’s been said and done, Chelsea have taken the extraordinary step to release an official statement regarding the decision to fine Kepa Arrizabalaga one week’s wages, which instead will be donated to the Chelsea Foundation. Such matters are usually kept internal, especially at Chelsea, but the club seem to be making a very strong effort to manage this whole incident above board and about as well as possible from a PR perspective (after it was handled about as poorly as possible as it was happening).
The Club has made a decision to fine Kepa one week’s wages and donate it to the Chelsea Foundation.
-source: Chelsea FC
Reports on Monday claimed that no punishment would follow after the remarkable scenes at Wembley on Sunday where Kepa seemingly refused to obey Sarri’s call for a substitution. The incident has dominated the Chelsea media ever since, even as all those involved directly on indirectly tried to play it down as a “big misunderstanding” (even if the specific conduct was not approved of).
In the final balance, it probably was mostly a misunderstanding, but handled about as poorly as possible (by both protagonists), with an undercurrent of all the other issues that have gone on this season (namely, not winning and being very inconsistent and at time downright terrible, leading to low morale, questions, discontentment, etc.).
In a supporting statement, Kepa has admitted that he did not handle the situation well, even if he was technically right in the sense that he was not actually injured (he was just trying to “buy time” but that’s a whole other issue plaguing modern football).
“I was very happy to play in my first Cup Final for Chelsea yesterday and very proud of the team performance. I have thought a lot more about yesterday’s events. Although there was a misunderstanding, on reflection, I made a big mistake with how I handled the situation. I wanted to take the time today to apologise fully and in person to the coach, to Willy, 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.”
-Kepa Arrizabalaga; source: Chelsea FC
It would appear that everyone involved now considers the matter closed. Sarri’s own over-reaction has largely been ignored, but whatever. Hopefully everyone learned the appropriate lessons and any shortcomings in our methodologies and communication will be addressed.
“Kepa and I have spoken about the incident. It was a good conversation. There was a misunderstanding yesterday but he realises he made a big mistake in the way he reacted. He has apologised to me, his team-mates and the club. It is up to the club if they want to discipline him according to the club rules, but for me this matter is now closed. The team performance as a whole was extremely positive and it is a shame to see how this incident has overshadowed our efforts in what was a very competitive Cup Final. Everyone’s focus is now on the next game and we must all now put this behind us.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Chelsea FC
So say we all.