Pizza Hut has apologised to the five black AFC Bournemouth footballers, including Marvin Bartley, Anton Robinson and Liam Feeney, who were forced to pay for their meals upfront at a Pizza Hut restaurant before being served.

A spokesman for Pizza Hut said in a statement: “We do not tolerate any form of discrimination, so immediately investigated this incident.

“While our duty manager’s actions were absolutely not racially motivated, we are very sorry for the way this was handled.”

Footballers accuse Pizza Hut of racism

Pizza Hut also explained they were following police advice to have customers pay before eating due to previous incidents where clients had left without paying.

One of the footballers explained that the manager had asked the group to pay upfront, but when some white teens walked in they did not have to follow the same procedure.

“Unfortunately, it seems this approach was not enforced as a blanket policy and we have ensured all staff have been retrained. We will be contacting the customers concerned to apologise.”

Meanwhile, AFC Bournemouth club chairman Eddie Mitchell said: “In this day and age, it is upsetting to hear that people are treated differently because of the colour of their skin and at AFC Bournemouth, we will not condone any treatment of people in such a way.”

“Our players are magnificent ambassadors to AFC Bournemouth, their behaviour is exemplary and they are a credit to the club.”

The incident took place at the Pizza Hut Castle Lane West restaurant in Bournemouth on Thursday afternoon last week.