GRANIT XHAKA received racist abuse from Arsenal season ticket holders, according to a recently released report.
The midfielder’s name appeared in more than 1,300 abusive tweets in a 30-day period around the Gunners’ 1-0 home defeat to Burnley when Xhaka was sent off.
Granit Xhaka received racist abuse from Twitter accounts claiming to be Arsenal season ticket holdersCredit: Getty Images – Getty
This is just one example of hundreds vile posts aimed at Xhaka
Data science company Signify undertook a study on footballer abuse online and the report was revealed by Sky Sports News.
And the shocking results showed ’16 instances of targeted racist abuse, including posts from accounts who self-identify as Arsenal season ticket holders’.
The Gunners have vowed to take action against any fans proved to be guilty of such abuse – including stadium bans.
The report also revealed the following shocking stats surrounding Xhaka – some of which expose disturbing violent desires among users.
- In the 30-day period, 2,004 posts related to Xhaka of which 1,374 were marked as potentially containing abuse.
- 52 per cent of abusive posts occurred on the day of the Burnley match.
- Six posts expressed a desire to do violence to Xhaka.
- The top three most abusive accounts were also the most prolific.
- Data was drawn from 117,481 mentions of ‘Xhaka’ on public Twitter.
Xhaka has had a tumultuous relationship with Arsenal fans since he told them to ‘F***k off’ after they booed him as he was subbed off against Crystal Palace in October 2019.
He seemed destined to leave but having stayed put, the Swiss international has had a resurgence of sorts under Mikel Arteta.
But questions were raised again after he lost his head during an on-field bust-up with Burnley’s Ashley Westwood that saw him sent-off in December.
And in response, many brainless Twitter users decided to attack him online with some referring to his Muslim faith and Kosovo-Albania heritage.
@cxllumD wrote: “Xhaka is an absolute Albanian Nazi w*****.”
@ArtetasArsenal2 said: “Xhaka f*** off you t***, terrorist c*** is going to blow up the mosque soon the fake Muslim.”
And in grim displays of violent desire, @Ronny_Wheeler posted: “I want Xhaka hanging from a tree tonight.”
Before @ceasar_TheF: said: “Man shoulda stab up Xhaka.”
‘THE EFFECT ON INDIVIDUALS CAN BE VERY DEEP’
In response to the report, an Arsenal spokesperson said: “We all need to work together to drive online abuse out of our game and off our social networks.
“The effect on individuals can be very deep and we work closely with our players and staff to help them deal with the impact. This includes support from sports psychologists and our social media team.
“As a club, one of the biggest challenges we face is identifying the perpetrators and linking them directly to our season ticket or membership databases.
“When we do have that information, we take the strongest possible action. This includes reporting to the police and membership bans from our club.
“Ultimately we all have to work together to stop the abuse and we fully support the Premier League’s recent statement calling on social media platforms to take more action to prevent abuse appearing online, including requiring all users to be subject to a verification process.”
And in another run-of-the-mill bland condemnation, Twitter said: “There is no room for racist abuse on Twitter and we are resolute in our commitment to ensure the football conversation on our service is safe for fans, players and everyone involved in the game.
“We strongly condemn this behaviour, which does not reflect the vast majority of fans who use Twitter to participate in the vibrant conversations around football in the UK.
“We will continue to take swift action on the minority that try to undermine the conversation for the majority.
“We also continue to work closely with valued partners in the football community and through the football working group convened by Kick It Out we will collaborate and identify ways to tackle this unacceptable behaviour – both online and offline.”
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