A Mexican professional footballer has been slammed for throwing his 12-year-old son an El Chapo -themed birthday party.

Julio Cesar 'Cata' Dominguez, 35, a defender for Liga MX club Cruz Azul, was later forced to apologise for the drug lord themed bash

Children at the party were photographed wearing face masks and aiming toy guns and the camera like members of a drug gang.

READ MORE: 29 dead as cartel hitmen blockade roads and ground planes after El Chapo’s son arrested

In the pictures the kids can be seen wearing birthday baseball caps saying 'Chapiza', the nickname of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel once ruled by El Chapo.

Some youngsters sport the initials 'JGL', apparently a reference to Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, 65, El Chapo's real name.

The birthday party came just days after a wave of cartel-linked violence during the arrest of El Chapo's son Ovidio Guzman rocked Mexico and left 29 people dead.

And it has prompted an investigation into the footballer, who now reportedly faces sanctions, including a hefty fine.

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Other attendees at the party included footballers Carlos Rodriguez, Rodolfo Rotondi, Erik Lira, Ivan Morales, Jorge Garcia and Alonso Escoboza, who also reportedly face fines.

In light of the outrage caused by the birthday bash photos, 'Cata' Dominguez took to social media to apologise, saying: "I offer a sincere apology for the Images disseminated on my social networks in relation to a children's party.

He continued: "I recognise that these do not contribute to creating a better impression of Mexico and that neither I nor my family promote or justify any kind of violence.

He added: "We are people who promote sports among the younger generations, in addition to the values and principles of an exemplary institution, such as the Cruz Azul Football Club."

Mexican drug lord El Chapo was head of the Sinaloa Cartel – an international crime syndicate considered to be Mexico's most powerful drug trafficking group.

He himself is considered to have been one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world.

El Chapo, Mexican slang for "shorty" has escaped from maximum security prisons twice, but is currently serving a life sentence at a maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado USA.

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