Palace take ac­tion against Zaha’s racist on­line trolls

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Ja­son Burt

Crys­tal Palace are to at­tempt to track down the per­pe­tra­tors who have racially abused Wilfried Zaha on so­cial me­dia.

Palace will urge other clubs to take ac­tion if any of their fans are found to have tar­geted Zaha over a se­ries of months.

Palace have re­ported the in­ci­dents to so­cial me­dia plat­forms, who are un­der grow­ing pres­sure to act, and will try to iden­tify abusers. If any are Palace fans they will face sanc­tions, such as los­ing their season tick­ets or be­ing banned. The po­lice could also be called in with a view to a crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.

Palace said in a state­ment: “We will not tol­er­ate this be­hav­iour be­ing di­rected at any of our play­ers and will fully sup­port them in deal­ing with such in­ci­dents. Any ac­tion we can take uni­lat­er­ally as a club will be taken im­me­di­ately and we will also seek co­op­er­a­tion from other clubs where rel­e­vant. Fol­low­ing that, we will pur­sue the mat­ter crim­i­nally with the full force of whatever the law al­lows.”

There has not been one spe­cific in­ci­dent that has led Zaha (right) to make a com­plaint, but the Ivory Coast in­ter­na­tional has re­ceived abuse in the past and it has had a cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect.

Zaha spoke out against on­line racist abuse he re­ceived last season when he was tar­geted fol­low­ing a 2-2 Premier League draw with Ar­se­nal, dur­ing which he won a penalty af­ter go­ing down un­der Granit Xhaka’s chal­lenge.

Zaha took to so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing the Ar­se­nal game and sub­se­quently re­vealed in a post on his In­sta­gram story that the abuse had es­ca­lated.

He wrote: “For all the peo­ple tak­ing it one step fur­ther and be­ing racist and wish­ing death on my fam­ily I wish you and your fam­i­lies the best too x. P.S. my life is still very good de­spite your hate.” The Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers’ As­so­ci­a­tion has said that racist abuse of play­ers on so­cial me­dia has reached a cri­sis point, with Paul Pogba, Mar­cus Rash­ford, Tammy Abra­ham and Hamza Choudhury among those tar­geted in re­cent months. The PFA has met with Twit­ter to dis­cuss the is­sue, while there has been talk of a so­cial me­dia boy­cott.

Kick It Out, the anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion cam­paign­ers, backed Palace’s stance. A state­ment read: “We fully sup­port the re­sponse from Crys­tal Palace to the lat­est in­ci­dent of vile racist abuse di­rected at Wilfried Zaha on­line. “It’s ex­tremely frus­trat­ing to con­tinue to wit­ness ha­tred on so­cial plat­forms.

“While recog­nis­ing it is a wider so­cial is­sue, we ut­terly con­demn the lan­guage used and de­mand that the plat­forms come for­ward with ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions.”

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