Racism on social media is the biggest problem in football: Arsenal chief Vinai Venkatesham

Racism on social media is the biggest problem in football: Arsenal chief Vinai Venkatesham

Arsenal supremo Vinai Venkatesham has branded racist abuse on social media the biggest problem in football after striker Eddie Nketiah became the latest high-profile player to be targeted.

Nketiah was urged to leave Arsenal in a racist post replying to a training picture he posted on Twitter ahead of last night’s clash against Benfica.

A host of Premier League players including Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Reece James and Romaine Sawyers have all suffered online racial abuse in recent weeks.

And speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit, Arsenal chief executive Venkatesham said: ‘The abuse of so many of our black footballers on social channels is probably and possibly the biggest problem we have in the game at the moment.

‘Footballers, referees and officials are all human beings and have feelings like anybody else and we really cannot overstate the impact that social media abuse can have on an individual.

‘We have to take this opportunity as a wake-up call. We are getting to a point where this type of abuse that a black footballer is getting is becoming increasingly normalised.’

Twitter moved to permanently suspend the account linked to Nketiah’s abuse.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters added: ‘We simply cannot accept a situation that a professional footballer is expecting or accepting online abuse, racial or otherwise.

‘Of course, we speak to social media companies who are making some efforts but it is not working so we have to find new ways forward to really stop it at source.’

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