Racist abuse towards players is football’s ‘biggest problem’, says Arsenal chief Vinai Venkatesham

Venkatesham is ‘worried the path we are heading on’ is becoming normalised

Philip Duncan
Thursday 18 February 2021 12:54
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<p>Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham</p>

Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham

Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has described social media abuse to black players as the “biggest problem” in football and says its impact “cannot be underestimated”.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Lauren James and Chelsea full-back Reece James - Lauren’s brother - are among the footballers targeted by racist abuse recently.

Venkatesham said that online racism is becoming normalised and added that he is “worried about the path we are heading on” if progress is not made.

Speaking at Thursday’s Financial Times’ Business of Football summit, 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 underestimate the impact that social media abuse can have on an individual.

“Football, the players, and social media companies need to come together to solve this because this is a moment in time.

“If we don’t make positive progress I really, really worry about the path we are heading on.”

PA

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