Social media is one of the ways our supporters across the world can feel closer to the club and our players, but across football and beyond we’ve seen an online world poisoned by hateful, racist and discriminatory words.
We cannot underestimate the impact abuse has on individuals and the recent spate of abuse needs to be a wake-up call. We all need to work together to drive out this behaviour. This includes clubs, governing bodies, fans, media and politicians; but requires the help and commitment of social media companies.
We know that we have a crucial role to play in bringing about real change. We are therefore outlining below our #StopOnlineAbuse action plan to ensure we are fulfilling our responsibility to protect our players and our diverse, global family and stamp out online abuse.
Celebrate, educate and punish
Through Arsenal for Everyone we strive to ensure that everyone connected to the club feels an equal sense of belonging. We continue to run ongoing staff education programmes on diversity. We will continue to celebrate our diversity and use our relationships with our local communities and our global platform to educate others and lobby to strengthen measures and action taken by relevant authorities, as well as social media companies, to punish those responsible for abuse and discrimination.
We have strengthened our internal procedures with the creation of a taskforce to give emotional and practical support for our players. The taskforce has a strong network to the UK Police for domestic perpetrators, international networks supported by the Premier League, Football’s Equality and Inclusion organisation Kick It Out, social media platforms and our fan data. This taskforce will ensure clear and consistent steps are taken when abuse occurs. Where an Arsenal member is responsible for any unacceptable online abuse, they will be banned. The club will also support further legal action in the appropriate cases.
Facilitating player workshops
We are running more workshops with our players at all levels to help them to protect themselves by blocking abusers and muting offensive words and phrases. We have reminded them how to report online abuse and made clear how we will work with them to take appropriate action at their own discretion. We will also engage them in what the club is doing to use its platforms and network to educate on the issue as well as giving them the opportunity to continue the fight against all forms of discrimination.
Leveraging fan power
Our millions of fans around the world are the biggest and most vocal advocates of the club. We will leverage the power of their collective voice by opening a dialogue to share ideas and ensure they play an integral part in our campaign to educate and inform others on this issue. This has launched today on our social media channels.
Arsenal in the Community
We will continue to provide educational sessions and resources both within our academy and through Arsenal in the Community initiatives targeting local primary and secondary schoolchildren.
We are committed to working with the Premier League and other clubs, partners such as Kick It Out, The FA, PFA, police and other authorities to support victims of abuse and to be a collective and powerful voice in eradicating this from our game and wider society.
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