West Midlands Police have arrested a 12-year-old boy from Solihull after racist messages were sent to Crystal Palace FC’s winger Wilfried Zaha on social media.
Wilfried exposed the messages online, sharing several screenshots of the racist abuse he had received ahead of Sunday’s match against Aston Villa, alongside the caption, “Woke up to this today”.
Crystal Palace’s manager, Roy Hodgson, threw support behind the footballer’s decision to go public about the abuse, saying, “It is very saddening on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse.”
“I think it is right that Wilf made people aware of it; I don’t think it is something he should keep quiet about. I think it is very good that our club, Aston Villa and the Premier League are doing everything they can to find out who this despicable individual is and one can only hope that they will get identified and they will get called to account and they will pay for these actions. There is literally no excuse; there is no excuse at all.”
A statement by the Premier League read, “This behaviour is completely unacceptable and the Premier League stands alongside @wilfriedzaha in opposing this, and discrimination in any form. There is #NoRoomForRacism, anywhere.”
“We will continue to support players, managers, coaches and their family members who receive serious discriminatory online abuse. Through our dedicated reporting system, we can take immediate action on cases like this.”
This arrest comes just two weeks after the Premier League launched a brand-new system in which its players are able to report online abuse.