Cheick Tiote pleaded guilty over fake driving licence fraud
- Newcastle star filmed driving Range Rover with an open champagne bottle
- Cheick Tiote, 28, has apologised after the video emerged on Facebook
- Fans and anti-drink driving campaigners have blasted the footballer
- His club said he will not be dropped and he played a full match today
A Premier League star has sparked outrage after a video emerged of him posing with an open bottle of champagne while driving his Range Rover at night.
Cheick Tiote, 28, who earns £45,000 a week playing for Newcastle United, took his eyes off the road for several seconds and grinned at the camera instead of looking where he was going.
The footballer, who pleaded guilty to using a fake Belgian driving licence to obtain a UK licence last year, then hands the bottle to a friend in the back seat and urges him to take a swig.
A statement from his club said: ‘Newcastle United have been made aware of a video of Cheick Tiote driving whilst holding a bottle of alcohol, which is understood to have been filmed in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
‘Clearly his actions were not appropriate. The club have spoken privately with Cheick today and reminded him of his significant responsibilities as a representative of Newcastle United and a role model.’
The player, whose Muslim beliefs forbid alcohol, does not drink from the bottle in the video.
But he is heard telling a friend in their native French: ‘Take a glass of champagne. It’s the best, rosé.’
He then adds: ‘Not for me, not champagne.’
The footballer will not be dropped for the misdemeanor and played a full match against Chelsea today.
But fans and driving campaigners have blasted the player saying he is setting a bad example to youngsters.
Warren Davies tweeted: ‘He completely took his eyes off the road. So dangerous.’
Choco Play said: ‘You’re not a good Muslim anymore.’
Anti-drink driving campaigner Carole Whittingham, 72, whose son Stephen, 27, was killed by an 18-year-old drunk driver, said: ‘I’m shocked and appalled.
‘Tioté is supposed to set a good example to young people who are going to football matches and want to be like their heroes.’
If caught doing the same in the UK he could be charged with failing to have proper control of a vehicle and face a driving ban.
This is not the first time Tioté has courted controversy, as he pleaded guilty to paying £12,800 for a forged Belgian driving licence and trying to swap it for a UK one.
He was given a suspended sentence and ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work. He was also given a £600 fine and six points for no licence.
Two months later he was banned from the road for six months after it emerged he already had six points before the October sentencing.
The 28-year-old, who currently lives with his wife Madah and their two children in a £1.5million mansion in Ponteland near Newcastle, also has a one-year-old child with mistress Nikki Mpofu.
The footballer defended his lifestyle by claiming there is nothing unusual about having two wives and a mistress.