Thirty-one members and season ticket holders have been banned for abusive and discriminatory behaviour since the start of the 2021/22 season.
The supporters have each been handed three-year bans, meaning they cannot attend any Arsenal match home or away during that period. The ongoing action shows that abusive and discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated at Arsenal.
The bans are the result of behaviour online (18) and in the stadium (13) – breakdown as follows:
- Threats/death threats – 10
- Ableism – 3
- Homophobia – 2
- Antisemitism – 2
- Racism – 1
- Homophobia – 5
- Antisemitism – 3
- Threatening behaviour – 3
- Racism – 2
The online sanctions follow our announcement in August 2021 that we would be working with data science company Signify Group, deploying its specialist Threat Matrix service to support our efforts in combatting targeted online abuse.
Threat Matrix was activated to monitor social media channels to identify and unmask abusive accounts. So far, 11.3 million posts have been examined using the technology, with verified abusers blocked and reported to platforms and authorities.
Our CEO, Vinai Venkatesham, said: “We take all forms of abuse and discrimination extremely seriously – whether online or in and around the stadium. While we are talking about a tiny minority of our supporter base, we must continue to take strong action against abusers who are identified as Arsenal season ticket holders or members, including escalating to the police where appropriate.
“New technology is changing the way we’re able to support our communities and create a safer space for the entire Arsenal family.
“Our aim is to create an environment at Arsenal where everybody feels welcome, and we hope this action serves as a deterrent for those using abusive, threatening, and discriminatory language.”
Education is another important part of the club’s strategy for tackling abuse and discrimination. Individuals who have been banned are now offered the chance to reduce the length of their punishment if they attend a one-to-one education programme run by Kick It Out. Individuals who go through the programme discuss the impact of their behaviour on others and need to demonstrate a willingness to reflect and change their mindset moving forward.
Our inclusion programmes designed for our local community aim to support education on the topics of abuse and discrimination, while our global platforms will continue to give a voice and bring focus to matters of equality, diversity and inclusion.
We will also continue to campaign alongside our supporters’ groups to celebrate and champion our diverse communities.
If our supporters witness any form of abusive or discriminatory behaviour inside the stadium, we encourage them to report it to a matchday steward or by texting ‘FOUL’ to 67777 with a description of what happened and the block, row and seat number. Abuse in the stadium or online can also be reported via our website.
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