Solihull boy, 12, released under investigation in connection with ‘cowardly and despicable’ racist tweets to Premier League footballer Wilfried Zaha - The Solihull Observer

Solihull boy, 12, released under investigation in connection with ‘cowardly and despicable’ racist tweets to Premier League footballer Wilfried Zaha

Solihull Editorial 13th Jul, 2020 Updated: 13th Jul, 2020   0

A 12-YEAR-OLD Solihull boy arrested in connection with ‘cowardly and despicable’ racist social media messages sent to a Premier League footballer has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

The boy was arrested yesterday (Sunday July 12) after Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha revealed he had been sent the vile messages on Twitter, ahead of his team’s match against Aston Villa at Villa Park in Birmingham.

A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: “We were alerted to a series of racist messages sent to a footballer and after looking into them and conducting checks, we arrested a boy.

“The 12-year-old from Solihull has been released under investigation while our enquiries continue.

“Racism has no place in society and won’t be tolerated.”

Ivory Coast international Wilfried Zaha said: “I would like to thank West Midlands Police for their swift action in making an arrest.

“People need to understand that whatever your age, that your behaviour and your words come with consequences and you cannot hide behind social media.

“This is not the first time I have received messages like this, nor am I the only player to receive messages like this – it happens every day.

“I want to thank everyone for the love and support but enough is enough! It is not enough to be disgusted by these messages and move on.

“It is not enough to just say no to racism. We need action, we need education, things need to change.”

A spokesperson for Aston Villa, of whom the sender of the tweets is believed to be a fan, said: “We deplore the disgusting racist messages sent to Wilfried Zaha. We condemn all forms of racial discrimination and stand with Crystal Palace.

“We are working with the police in investigating this extremely serious matter and when the culprit is identified, Aston Villa will issue a lifetime ban.”

A Crystal Palace spokesperson said: “This is an absolute disgrace and should not be happening. We stand with you, Wilf, and anyone else who has to suffer such horrific abuse.”

The club’s manager Roy Hodgson added: “It is very saddening on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse.

“I think it is right that Wilf made people aware of it; I don’t think it is something he should keep quiet about.

“I think it is very good that our club, Aston Villa and the Premier League are doing everything they can to find out who this despicable individual is and one can only hope that they will get identified and they will get called to account and they will pay for these actions.

“There is no excuse at all.”

The Premier League said: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable and the Premier League stands alongside Wilfried Zaha in opposing this, and discrimination in any form.

“We will continue to support players, managers, coaches and their family members who receive serious discriminatory online abuse.”

Premier League players have been taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before every match since the season restarted in June.

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