Mikel Arteta on online abuse: Arsenal boss reveals social media threats towards his family

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed his family have been threatened on social media, saying more needs to be done to protect footballers, managers and officials who are “exposed” to hate.

The Premier League, FA, EFL, WSL, Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and Kick It Out all co-signed an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding immediate action over numerous incidents of abuse aimed at footballers and officials.

High-profile players in both the men’s and women’s game have been victims of racist abuse on social media in recent weeks, while Premier League referee Mike Dean was subjected to death threats following a controversial decision over the weekend.

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Facebook-owned Instagram announced new measures, including the removal of accounts to prevent abusive messages on its platform, while Twitter condemned the behaviour and vowed to work closely with the football community to tackle the unacceptable behaviour.

Arteta says everyone in football is “exposed” and while he can brush off abuse directed at him personally, he is affected more when abusers target his family.


When asked to discuss his personal experiences with online abuse, Arteta replied: “I prefer not to, we are all exposed in this industry.

“It would affect me a lot more the moment someone wants to touch my family, because it happened. The club was aware of it and tried to do something about it.

“It’s not going to stop tomorrow, we know that, we want to do something medium or long term.

It’s part of the job, I am not the only one suffering this type of thing.

“When you are winning it is beautiful, you are incredible and you are the best coach. When you lose it is the opposite, it’s not pleasant.

“When it is personal against me I can take it, but when it is my family involved it is a different story.

“The club is very supportive, we do what we have to when those things happen. Medium, long term, can we do something about it? We need to protect people in the game.”

Arteta says Arsenal are helping players with advice and protection against such abuse, but insisted the same support must be afforded to referees who are under similar scrutiny.

“Of course we have talked internally to the players and we have given them advice and try to protect them as much a possible.

“The incident that occurred a few days ago with Mike Dean is completely unacceptable. We should stand by him and support referees, they have a tremendously difficult role at the moment.

“At the same time they are trying to do their best and preparing the best they can, we all make mistakes.”

‘They hope I die of Covid’ – Bruce reveals vile abuse

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says he has received death threats on social media, describing abuse that players and officials have had to endure recently as “obscene”.

“I just know that in conversations I’ve had with my family over the last few days, when we’ve been talking about the Mike Dean situation, it was brought to my attention that I’ve had it too,” Bruce said.

“It’s really horrible stuff, which I couldn’t really get my breath with. Things like someone saying they hope I die of Covid and all of this.

“I don’t go on it but of, course, people close to me do and they are sensitive towards their father and yes [there have been death threats]. Yep, I’ve had that to deal with too.”

Bruce, 60, is not on social media but his son and former footballer, Alex, is and has shared abusive online messages he has received that are aimed at his father.

“Social media is a really powerful weapon for everyone concerned,” Bruce added. “The abuse that I’ve had – death threats and all this sort of stuff.

“When I see a referee having to come away from it because he’s made a mistake and people threatening him with his life – It’s obscene and totally ridiculous. They need to clamp down and police it better. We need to stop it basically.

“There are vulnerable people out there and it’s absolutely vile, some of it. It needs to stop.”

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Kick It Out reporting racism

Online Reporting Form | Kick It Out

Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation – working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.


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