Arsene Wenger says racism in football is ‘absolutely horrendous’, and he’s called on clubs to use the tools at their disposal to isolate and punish offenders.
Over the last few weeks, it’s been impossible to miss all the stories of racist abuse across Europe. Whether it’s for missing a penalty, like Paul Pogba and Tammy Abraham, or scoring one, like Romelu Lukaku, it’s truly ridiculous what players are having to face right now.
19-year-old Jadon Sancho has even had to deal with criticism from former player John Barnes just for speaking out over the abuse.
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been an anti-racism advocate throughout his career, and he used an interview with beIN SPORTS this week to speak out on the issue again.
“It’s scandalous,” Wenger said. “Sport has one huge advantage, no matter where you come from, who you are, what your name is or what is your colour. If you’re good enough you play. The values that are in sport should be represented everywhere.
“When you are inside (football) you don’t think that racism exists. You see it when outside. It is a lack of interpersonal confidence that has grown in Europe and a lack of mistrust has become expressed on social media.
“I find it absolutely horrendous and it needs to be fought, but how do you do it? Do you interrupt a game? I don’t think so – because it becomes an easy tool to be used to interrupt the games without having any end effect. I believe with all the things we have available now it’s easy to isolate people and punish them after.”
Twitter have met with the PFA and Kick it Out in an attempt to combat the issue online, and they say they’ve taken action on more than 700 examples of hateful conduct in the last two weeks.
That feels like a drop in the ocean though, especially when Twitter’s most recent reports say they’ve taken action against just 7% of reported cases of abuse or hateful conduct.
Until the number rises, there will still be plenty getting away with racist abuse online, despite the hard evidence being there for all to see.
That’s before we even get into cases where the evidence is less concrete, like chants or gestures in the stands not caught on video. Clearly, there’s still a long way to go.