Arsenal and Leeds United condemn sickening abuse aimed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski

Nicolas Pepe walks off the pitch during Arsenal's Premier League draw with Leeds United
Nicolas Pepe was racially abused following his sending off in Arsenal’s draw with Leeds (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal and Leeds United have joined in condemning the abuse directed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski during and after their goalless draw on Sunday evening.

Pepe was shown a red card for lashing out and headbutting Leeds left-back Alioski in the second half at Elland Road and both players were subjected to a string of sickening messages across social media.

Vile racist abuse was aimed at Pepe and there are suggestions Alioski’s family members were targeted by threatening and sinister messages following the incident in 51st minute.

Ezgjan Alioski looks on after being headbutted by Nicolas Pepe during Leeds' draw with Arsenal
Alioski reportedly received threats made to his family (Picture: Getty)

In a brief statement on Monday morning, Arsenal confirmed that they would be working with the police to bring those responsible to justice.

‘We utterly condemn the vile abuse directed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski on social media following our match against Leeds United,’ it said.

‘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.’

A statement on Leeds’ website read: ‘The vile abuse directed at Ezgjan Alioski and Nicolas Pepe on social media after yesterday’s Premier League game with Arsenal will not be tolerated by Leeds United.

‘We will work closely with the police and the footballing authorities to ensure those responsible are identified and punished.’

Marcelo Bielsa and Mikel Arteta shake hands after Arsenal's goalless draw with Leeds
Arsenal and Leeds are both working with the police to find the culprits (Picture: Getty)

Former England and Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips criticised Twitter for failing to ‘protect’ their users from such abuse, with the likes of Ryan Sessegnon, Wilfried Zaha, Tammy Abraham, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling also on the receiving end of racist messages in recent times.

‘And Twitter say they are protecting people from racial abuse! When is it enough and when will it stop?!?”’ an enraged Wright-Phillips tweeted.

Just last month, England and Manchester City forward Sterling called on football and social media bosses to ‘show real leadership’ in order to crack down on racist abuse.

‘I don’t know how many times I need to say this — but football and the social-media platforms need to step up, show real leadership and take proper action in tackling online abuse,’ he said.

‘The technology is there to make a difference but I’m increasingly questioning if there is the will.’

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