Arsenal call in the police over ‘vile abuse’ directed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski on social media after their midfielder faced n-word slurs following his headbutt on the Leeds star
- Nicolas Pepe was sent off in Arsenal’s goalless draw with Leeds for a headbutt
- The Ivorian headbutted Ezgjan Alioski and both were subjected to online abuse
- Shaun Wright-Phillips posted some of the abuse aimed at Arsenal’s record buy
- But the clubs have now said they will work with police to identify the culprits
Arsenal and Leeds have both released statements condeming the ‘vile abuse’ online directed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski in the clubs’ 0-0 draw on Sunday.
The Gunners’ record signing was the latest target of online racist abuse following his sending off at Elland Road for headbutting Alioski early on in the second half of the goalless stalemate.
Former England and Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips posted a screenshot of some of the abuse subsequently aimed at Pepe on Twitter and said: ‘And Twitter say they are protecting people from racial abuse! When is it enough and when will it stop?!?’.
Arsenal and Leeds have condemned the ‘vile abuse’ online directed at Nicolas Pepe (right) and Ezgjan Aliosk (second from left)
The Ivorian was sent off at Elland Road after headbutting Alioski in Sunday’s goalless draw
Now both clubs have come out to slam the disgusting comments and insist they are working with police and relevant authorities to search for those involved.
An Arsenal club statement read: ‘We utterly condemn the vile abuse directed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski on social media following our match against Leeds.
‘This is completely unacceptable and we will be working with the police and authorities to do everything we can to trace and prosecute the culprits.’
Leeds were equally as strong in their statement, stating: ‘The vile abuse directed at Ezgjan Alioski and Nicolas Pepe on social media after yesterday’s game with Arsenal will not be tolerated by Leeds United.
Former Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips (left) posted a screenshot of some of the racist abuse directed at Pepe following his dismissal
‘We will work closely with the police and the footballing authorities to ensure those responsible are identified and punished.’
The abuse directed at Pepe comes a few weeks after Ryan Sessegnon was also the target of online racial slurs.
Spurs winger Sessegnon, who is currently on loan at German club Hoffenheim, posted a screenshot of Instagram messages he received three weeks ago.
Other players, including Wilfried Zaha, Tammy Abraham, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, have also been targets of trolls in the recent past.
The abuse comes nearly a month after Ryan Sessegnon was also targeted by racial slurs online
Raheem Sterling last month called for online trolls to be punished following a damning survey
The news also comes a month after Manchester City star Sterling called for online trolls to be punished after a survey found more than half of messages sent to players during Project Restart were racist.
Pepe however was also – in a much less disgusting manner- slammed for his moment of madness on Sunday, with both Gary Lineker and Ian Wright questioning the 25-year-old’s actions.
Pepe was sent off for an off-the-ball moment of madness when he responded to provocation from Leeds midfielder Alioski in the second half.
There had been an incident between the pair minutes earlier as Pepe tried to wriggle free and keep possession in his own half.
Pepe however was also less distastefully slammed for headbutting Alioski in the stalemate
Then they clashed again outside the Leeds box while play went on around them, with Pepe pushing his head towards Alioski’s and what followed was an inevitable red card.
Match of the Day host Lineker took aim at the winger, tweeting: ‘What an idiotic thing to do by Pepe’, while former Arsenal striker Wright simply tweeted a GIF of a somebody bashing their head in bemusement.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was also left furious by Pepe – who was making just his second Premier League start of the season after an indifferent start to the campaign – and his ‘unacceptable’ red card.
Arteta said: ‘I told him it’s unacceptable. We knew the level of intensity, aggression and how alive Leeds are in every action.
‘You need to be able to deal with that because it’s part of the plan against this team.’
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said it was ‘unacceptable’ and said he had spoken with the player