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Matt Le Tissier leaves role as Southampton ambassador after spreading Bucha massacre conspiracy

Le Tissier has stepped aside from his role with Southampton, describing his controversial social media content as ‘work I believe in’

Lawrence Ostlere
Wednesday 06 April 2022 11:37 BST
Matt Le Tissier has become a controversial figure on social media
Matt Le Tissier has become a controversial figure on social media (Getty)

Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier has stepped down from his role as club ambassador a day after retweeting a conspiracy theory about the Bucha massacre in Ukraine.

Mounting evidence is piecing together one of the worst atrocities of Russia’s war in Ukraine so far, after civilian bodies and mass graves were discovered in the town of Bucha on the northwest outskirts of Kyiv. The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky visited Bucha this week where he reported “people found in barrels, cellars, strangled and simply tortured”, and US president Joe Biden called for his “brutal” Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to face a war crimes trial.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergie Lavrov claimed Bucha was a “fake attack”, while pro-Russian accounts on social media have tried to claim that footage of dead bodies on the streets was staged, conspiracy theories which have been widely debunked.

Le Tissier, who has more than half a million Twitter followers, has become a controversial figure on social media in recent years, particularly in his questioning of the Covid-19 vaccine and government restrictions during the global pandemic.

On Tuesday, Le Tissier tweeted “This” with an emoji pointing to a tweet suggesting “the media” was lying about the massacre of Bucha. The 53-year-old later deleted the tweet, but he faced a fierce backlash on social media.

He responded: “Let me make something very clear I do not advocate war in any way shape or form I do not advocate anyone taking lives of others and anyone who commits such acts should be dealt with accordingly, any atrocities leave devastating effects on the families of the victims and us all.”

But on Wednesday morning Le Tissier stepped aside from his role with Southampton, the club where he spent his entire professional career, describing his social media presence as “work I believe in”.

“To all the fans of sfc,” he tweeted. “I have decided to step aside from my role as an ambassador of SFC. My views are my own and always have been, and it’s important to take this step today to avoid any confusion. This does not affect my relationship with and love for my club, and I will always remain a fan and supporter of everything Saints.

“I can, however, see that due to recent events it’s important to separate the work I believe in from my relationship with the club I have supported and played for most of my life. I will see you all at St Mary’s and will always do anything I can to help the club.”

Le Tissier is no stranger to controversy online. In one retweet in September 2020, he compared the murder of Anne Frank with wearing face masks, for which he later apologised. In another he suggested Christian Eriksen’s on-field collapse at Euro 2020 could be related to the Covid vaccine (it later emerged Eriksen didn’t have the vaccine).

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