The FA are investigating racist and homophobic tweets made by Northern Ireland and Bolton striker Dion Charles.
A series of historical posts including terms such as ‘gay’, ‘gay boy’, and ‘f****t’ are being looked at, as well as others referring to ‘P***es’ and ‘corner shops’.
The tweets date between 2011 and 2013 and have come to light after Charles joined Bolton from Accrington this week.
The 26-year-old said: ‘First of all, I want to say how sorry I am for the hurt I have caused to those who have read my tweets. I particularly want to apologise to the LGBTQ+ and Muslim communities for the offensive words I used.
‘There is no place in football or society as a whole for discriminatory and hateful views and I want to make it clear that I have grown up considerably since I posted those tweets many years ago. I am not racist and I am not homophobic.’
Charles – capped six times by Northern Ireland – could now face FA disciplinary action, although he looks unlikely to face any sanction from his new club.
Bolton chairman Sharon Brittan said her own faith had taught her to offer ‘forgiveness’ and that Charles had apologised ‘unreservedly’.
‘Whilst not making any excuses for him, I have spoken with Dion and he has acknowledged that he has grown up considerably since he posted those comments and that he is not racist or homophobic,’ Brittan added.
‘Through Bolton Wanderers in the Community, the club seeks to be at the forefront of making our game inclusive for everybody and Dion fully supports this.’