La Liga rethinks stance over apparent racist gesture by Real Mallorca coach

Midway through the second half of the match between Espanyol and Mallorca earlier, the fitness coach of the Balearic island team — Dani Pastor — was caught on camera pulling his eyes back to allegedly signal to Japanese player Takefusa Kubo that he should be ready to come onto the pitch as a substitute for an injured teammate.

La Liga came in for criticism after it said Pastor’s actions was “simply a way to alert the player when he was warming up without any other intention.”

“We understand there was no intention to offend anyone with this gesture,” La Liga said in a new statement sent to CNN.

“We recognize that it can be offensive and apologize for that.

“We will seek to avoid repetition. La Liga always fights any kind of racist, violent or xenophobic behavior or any type of discrimination.”

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Real Mallorca and Pastor have not replied to CNN’s repeated requests for comment, both by phone and email.

In its original statement sent to CNN last week, La Liga said it did “not consider that the intention of this gesture carries a racist attitude.”

The incident in the match played on February 9 occurred in the 65th minute when Mallorca player Salva Sevilla was receiving treatment for an injury that required him to be replaced.

Kubo is on loan at Mallorca from Real Madrid, which signed the 18-year-old prodigy from FC Tokyo during the summer transfer window.

The teenager has made seven appearances for the Japanese national team and played 22 times for Mallorca so far this season.