• Sunday, August 14, 2022

FOOTBALL

Arsenal’s Willian says racism hurts and it must stop

Arsenal’s Willian (right) during a training session. (Reuters Photo)

By: Sattwik Biswal

WILLIAN is hurt by the online abuse that has been aimed at him and his family, as the Arsenal winger called the football authorities to do more to support the players.

He is one of the many footballers who were racially abused online and Willian wants the trolls to be made to pay for their actions.

“If they want to criticise me, it’s no problem. But when they attack your family with words that I cannot say here, that hurts. It’s a big problem. These people, they have to pay for that.

“I’ve seen some people deleting their social media because of racism and the abuse. Straight away, I want to do that. But then when you think, take a few minutes and relax a little bit more (it changes),” he said.

To address the issue, Arsenal have started a #StopOnlineAbuse campaign, last week. Their former star Thierry Henry has suspended his social media accounts in protest over growing reports of online abuse of players.

Willian admitted it becomes difficult to check phones after matches.

“Yes, sometimes. We are human. We are professional. We do our best to help the team, we want to win, we never want to lose.

“But sometimes you have a bad day and they come and say words that hurt you. That’s why we want to stop it. Enough is enough. To change it, we need the authorities to act. That’s it. I will never stop my fight against racism.

“We have to find a way to change social media. People want to have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook — they need to put their ID, passport or whatever. Then when these things happen, we can catch them, the authorities can catch them. They (the Premier League, UEFA and FIFA) have to support us,” Willian said.

Liverpool has also called for more action after Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita were targeted in the wake of their 3-1 loss to Real Madrid.

Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara detailed the racial abuse that he received from Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela, who will miss his side’s Europa League trip to Arsenal on Thursday night due to suspension.

Kamara told ITV: “I haven’t paid much attention to what he’s done after this whole incident but I’ve seen their fans, how they’ve reacted and I’ll get (racist) abuse probably every day on Instagram.

“I had so many different emotions and felt like a victim. I just felt like a little boy (when the incident happened). It was a very weird feeling. Hopefully I never have to feel that again. If I could go back I’d walk off the pitch 100 per cent. My manager was trying to get me off the pitch but I couldn’t hear anybody.”

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