West Midlands Police have arrested a 12-year-old boy after racist messages were sent to Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha ahead of Sunday’s match against Aston Villa.
The Ivory Coast international posted several screenshots of the racist abuse he had received to his social media accounts on the morning of the match, alongside the caption: “Woke up to this today.”
West Midlands Police said after the game they have arrested a boy from Solihull in relation to the incident.
The posts come just two weeks after the Premier League launched a new system to allow Premier League players to report online abuse.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson supports Zaha’s decision to go public about the abuse and says both clubs are working to identify the individual responsible.
“It is very saddening on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse,” said Hodgson.
“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 Premier League statement said: “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.”