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Arteta calls on social media firms to help stop online abuse of players

Premier League Leeds United V Arsenal
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Social media companies must take responsibility to help stop the online abuse of players as their mental health can be affected if they are targeted, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said on Thursday.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial, Chelsea’s Reece James, West Bromwich Albion’s Romaine Sawyers and Southampton’s Alex Jankewitz have all been subjected to racist abuse online recently.

Top English players including Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and former international Karen Carney discussed online abuse and discrimination with government ministers last month.

“There are all types of different abuses and it has to be eradicated completely,” Arteta told reporters. “I think social media has a big responsibility. Because then you talk about the mental health of players… and how exposed they are.

“I’m all open for people to have opinions, but not just to be insulting people, abusing people and using a screen behind a phone to say whatever you want about a person you don’t know.

“That has to be eradicated because it’s causing a lot of damage in football, a lot of damage to public people.”

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game at Aston Villa, Arteta said he hoped to have David Luiz’s red card overturned after the Brazilian defender was controversially sent off in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Arteta added that striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is available having made his comeback against Wolves after missing games due to his mother’s illness, but the manager did not confirm if the Gabon international would start.

“Well he’s available, he played a few minutes after 10 days of not doing much and hopefully in the next two days he feels good and he’s available to contribute to the team,” Arteta said.

Arsenal are 10th in the table with 31 points from 22 games.

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