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Arsenal create taskforce to tackle online abuse

Arsenal have created a new taskforce to help support their players as part of an initiative to tackle online hate.

The club revealed their #StopOnlineAbuse action plan on Tuesday which features a more formal process for players and staff to report incidents of discrimination.

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Their new task-force comprises a cross-departmental group which aims to provide advice on specific issues including their social channels, wider media and legal issues.

“We have strengthened our internal procedures with the creation of a taskforce to give emotional and practical support for our players,” a statement on Arsenal’s official website read.

“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.”

Arsenal also plan to increase the number of workshops for players which explain how to block offensive accounts and mute offensive terms.

Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer Thierry Henry last week quit all social media due to a lack of action from tech companies over discriminatory behaviour and said he hopes his actions will inspire others to do the same while current boss Mikel Arteta said last month that he and his family had been victims of online abuse.

“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,” the statement read.

“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.”

Arsenal have also encouraged supporters by “opening a dialogue to share ideas” on the club’s social media channels, calling on fans to “identify, condemn and highlight abuse when they see it.”

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