Press conference

'Enough is enough, we have to take action now'

Willian faced the media on Wednesday and took the opportunity to speak out against racism and online abuse - while calling on the footballing authorities to do more to tackle the issue.

The Brazil international was asked at length about the problems that he has faced - and you can read a transcript of what he told the media below:

on the way that UEFA deals with racism complaints…
It has been difficult to talk about that. We as players cannot do a lot, we do what we can do, we can report it, we share it with you guys and we can speak about it, but we want action. We don’t see any action from the authorities on that case, and they have to try to stop it. When people say horrible words about you or your family, it is not good. They can criticise us, in relation to what we do on the pitch, I have no problem with that, no problem at all if they want to criticise me and what I do on the pitch. If I have to play better, if I have to train more, yes I will accept it. But when they come to attack you with horrible words, your family, that is not good - so we have to stop it, to try to find a way to stop it.

on what's changed to make him speak about it now…
Well because we see it day by day, week by week. I was in that situation one month ago, and it was very difficult for me because I have a lot of things on my phone and I saw a lot of horrible words against my family for example. After that, I said to myself, ‘Enough is enough, I have to try something’ - to take action against racism and online abuse. I am proud because the club is doing that, they are helping us a lot and I will never stop my fight against racism.

on giving advice to younger players who have experienced racism…
What I can say is that the advice is to share [with the authorities], put on social media and to never have fear to speak about it because these people have to pay for that. I don’t know why they do that, we want to know that so the advice is that. We have to speak out, we have to share on our social media and that’s it.

on how much racism and abuse impacts his day to day work…
It's really, really affected me when they say about my family. As I've said before, if they want to criticise me, that's no problem, I will always accept that. But when they come to attack you and your family with bad words that I cannot say here, that hurts. That's really affected me and it's a big problem.

on how those messages make him feel…
I feel that straight away I want to delete my social media accounts. I have seen some people [do that] because of the racism and the abuse and straight away I want to do that, but when you think and take a few minutes and relax a little bit more… but the first action is to delete straight away!

on whether he's scared to look at his phone after a game…
Sometimes yes, to be honest, because we are human. I want to understand who these people are and who they think they are to come to speak like that with us. We are professional and we do the best to help the team on the pitch. We want to win and we always want to win. We never want to lose, but we have our bad days and sometimes we're not feeling good and having problems like everyone has. We have personal problems and families have a lot of problems as well, so sometimes you're not in a good day, you have a bad game and they come and they say these kind of words that hurt you. That's why we want to stop it. Enough is enough.

on how change can happen…
I say that because we need it to change. To change it, we need action. As a player, we do what we can do as I’ve said before, until we need the authorities to do the action.


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