The manager of a professional English soccer team has apologized after comparing his team’s loss in a recent match to the Holocaust.
After his Bristol Rovers side lost 3-1 last weekend to Newport County, Joey Barton said, “The team’s almost like musical chairs. Someone gets in and does well but then gets suspended or injured. Someone gets in for a game, does well but then has a Holocaust, a nightmare, an absolute disaster.”
At a press conference Thursday, Barton apologized for the Holocaust analogy.
“I’m just going to say there were some comments made after the press conference last week where clearly no offense was meant, but some people have rightly pointed out to me the use of the analogy was not correct,” he said.
Barton said he received a reminder this week from the FA, the governing body for soccer in England, regarding “our language and communications.”
“The last thing you want to do is cause offense or upset anybody,” he said. “So if anybody was offended by that, I would like to apologize for that and I think the FA were right to write to me and remind me of that.”
The apology came after Barton received criticism for his remarks after last week’s loss, including by a local politician and Jewish Labour Movement member who called the analogy “appalling” and said the coach should consider his future with the team.
Bristol Rovers play in League Two, the fourth-highest division in England’s soccer league system.