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Arsenal release statement after Willian racist abuse and discuss plan to ban fans found guilty of social media abuse

Arsenal have released a statement after Willian was racially abused on social media and outlined their plan to ban fans found guilty of social media abuse, according to football.london.

Willian became the latest footballer to be subjected to online abuse. Via an Instagram story, the Brazilian revealed that he had received vile messages. His story had the following caption:

“Something needs to change! The fight against racism continues.”

A number of men and women in football have been subjected to abusive comments on social media. A recent study said that a number of players including Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had received racial and homophobic abuse on social media by fans including some who were Arsenal season ticket holders.

Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah recently received racist comments on a post he had put out on Twitter which showed him in training ahead of the Gunners’ Europa League clash with Benfica with the caption ‘Working with a smile!’. 

Twitter announced that they had permanently banned the account that had made the vile comment on his post.

In recent times, referee Mike Dean has been subjected to death threats after making the controversial decision to show West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek a red card. He requested to be left out of consideration for refereeing appointments for the subsequent Premier League gameweek. 

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta have both admitted that they have received death threats and abusive messages directed at their families. 

It is imperative that football clubs, governing bodies, social media giants and society take bold steps to hold those guilty of posting such messages accountable for their actions. They must face the consequences of their actions so that this kind of behaviour can be rooted out of society.

Arsenal issued the following statement to highlight their commitment to fight such abusive behaviour. It reads as follows:

“This is another depressing example of what is sadly happening to our players and many others on a regular basis.”

“Social media is one of the ways our supporters across the world can feel closer to the club and our players, but across football and beyond we’ve seen an online world poisoned by hateful, racist and discriminatory words.”

“As our chief executive Vinai Venkatesham said only yesterday, we cannot underestimate the impact abuse has on individuals and the recent spate of abuse needs to be a wake-up call. We all need to work together to drive this behaviour out.”

“This includes clubs, governing bodies, fans, media and politicians; but requires the help and commitment of social media companies.”

“Through Arsenal for Everyone we strive to ensure that everyone connected to the club feels an equal sense of belonging.”

“We will continue to celebrate our diversity and use our platforms to educate others and continue our zero-tolerance approach to discrimination.”

“We commit to using our voice and network to strengthen measures and action taken by relevant authorities to punish those responsible for this abuse which affects us all.”

“Where any individual is found to have an Arsenal membership, they will be banned. We cannot and will not let racist and hateful abuse become a normalised part of the game.”

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