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Social media can be a cesspit of sewer rats.. this is worst year on record for racism in football

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THIS has been a season we will never forget.

In terms of football and racism, everybody has seen the discrimination and abuse, including England’s game in Bulgaria and increasingly online.

Palace star Zaha is one of those players subjected to sickening racism

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Palace star Zaha is one of those players subjected to sickening racismCredit: Rex Features

For society, the death of George Floyd made me depressed.

Then you add coronavirus and the financial implications across football and it becomes a worrying time.

But there are always things that give hope, like the way football has reacted to Covid-19, with so many clubs doing amazing work in their communities.

Marcus Rashford’s success with school meals is another and the way football — and players in particular — have responded to Black Lives Matter.

There is an appetite to turn the words into real, meaningful and long-term action, to do the things needed to create lasting change and opportunities. But we also have to tackle discrimination.

This will be the worst year on record. We have to stem the tide.

Online abuse is a massive issue and it can turn into real-world abuse.

There is no magic wand. Everybody needs to step up to the plate and raise their game.

And I mean everyone — football, social media companies, government and law enforcement.

We need the likes of Twitter and Facebook to do more, taking stuff down and also educating the public.

Bhandari says this has been the worst year on record and that the time for change is now

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Bhandari says this has been the worst year on record and that the time for change is nowCredit: PA:Press Association

Social media is not all bad. Look at how Rashford used it to create change.

It also was why we knew about that awful incident in the Haringey versus Yeovil FA Cup tie so quickly.

But while it can be an absolute fountain of joy, it can also be a cesspit of sewer rats. The problem is there are no real consequences for social media behaviour.

People feel free to do whatever they want.

We do not know whether it’s a 12-year old kid in Birmingham who is trolling Ian Wright or Wilfried Zaha, or if it is organised, orchestrated online hate.

That doesn’t mean a blanket ban on anonymity but every account must have a verification link to a specific person.

Then it is down to working with law enforcement to make sure appropriate action is taken.

But the past two months have been a real positive.

We must go beyond gestures and push for change past the news cycle

Sanjay Bhandari, Chair of Kick It Out

People see that what Black Lives Matter stands for is greater equality and fairness. They want to make that happen.

The challenge now is to go beyond gestures. We have had them before.

Shiny, high-profile initiatives don’t necessarily solve the problems.

You have to stay involved when the news cycle has moved on. We need sustained action over four or five years to move the dial.

Slogans on shirts are not enough. Supporters must know what to do if they see or hear something in a stadium, or on social media.

It is about the academy player who has been racially abused or bullied having simple guidance about how to respond.

It is helping the Sunday League player feel confident that a report of abuse will be investigated properly.

We need concrete actions to change behaviour. Values alone will not.

There is no quick fix. Culture doesn’t change overnight because someone says it should. It happens gradually.

Premier League players have taken a knee since football resumed in support of the Black Lives Matter movement

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Premier League players have taken a knee since football resumed in support of the Black Lives Matter movementCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd

Football boardrooms are still white and male, there is still an absence of black coaches, while Asians in football are completely invisible.

But black players now feel more encouraged to speak out.

Tyrone Mings, Troy Deeney, Rashford and Raheem Sterling are influencers in their own right, potentially bigger than clubs or any politicians.

They can change opinions and have the courage to use their platforms responsibly.

Football is enabling them to do that, which wouldn’t have been the case a few years ago.

For my generation, the seminal game was West Brom thrashing Manchester United at Old Trafford in 1978.

Not just for Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis laying that slur about black players and snow to rest but because Gerald Sinstadt, the commentator, called the racism out.

That was so unusual then. Now you would expect a commentator and the media to talk about it, not brush it under the carpet.

Having lived in football for 46 years, it feels like George Floyd’s death has changed people. I do think it’s different.

I’m more confident now.

Football was already moving in the right direction but the way the game has reacted has shown me that there is a real willingness to change.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson speaks about ‘cowardly and despicable’ racial abuse levelled at Wilfried Zaha before Aston Villa match

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Arsenal predicted to suffer bleak £120m losses if fans don’t return as supporters’ trust warns things could get worse

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ARSENAL have been warned to expect losses of over £120million if football remains behind closed doors.

Few clubs make as much money as the Gunners do on a matchday – with that income completely lost since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Plans to let fans back into football grounds are being hit by the second coronavirus wave

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Plans to let fans back into football grounds are being hit by the second coronavirus waveCredit: EPA

In 2018-19, Arsenal made £96million in matchday revenue alone, a huge proportion of their total £394m turnover.

Such a reliance on fans coming to Emirates Stadium left the club particularly vulnerable to the circumstances they now find themselves in.

Arsenal Supporters’ Trust have delved into the figures to estimate potential losses of £120m if the situation does not improve.



Matchday revenue for the protracted 2019-20 campaign is down to around £77m after the final weeks of the season went behind closed doors.

And the Trust reckon Arsenal will only be able to make £20m in matchday revenue in 2020-21, on the basis stadium capacity is restricted to 25 per cent.

This would set the North London club on course for a £44m loss in 2019-20 and £83m in the current campaign – totalling losses around £120m.

Premier League clubs are pushing for fans to return to stadiums but a second coronavirus wave threatens to slam the door on test events.

Furthermore, the reality could be even worse with these estimates predicated on TV money remaining steady throughout the new season, as well as commercial and retail income.

Arsenal have one of the biggest wage bills in Europe
Arsenal have one of the biggest wage bills in Europe

The predictions are just the latest stark warning of football’s financial outlook from the very top of the game, right down to grassroots level.

Arsenal have already made 55 staff members redundant amid the pandemic, with the bulk of the squad agreeing a wage cut.

However, Mikel Arteta has been able to revamp his squad with Gabriel Magalhaes and Pablo Mari arriving for a combined £35m.

Willian signed a three-year deal worth £220,000-a-week last month before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang extended his contract to reach £350,000-a-week.

The club have recouped over £20m from the sales of Emiliano Martinez and Sam Greenwood, with owner Stan Kroenke refinancing the debt accrued when building Emirates Stadium.

SPORTS GRAPHIC EXPENSIVE SIGNINGS ARSENAL10 SEP

The Trust summarised: “Estimated losses of £44m this year and £80m next year.

“And if fans don’t return soon and more broadcast contracts see reductions it could be much worse.

“Arsenal still run a bloated wage bill (well over £200m a year) and carry significant debts – both player installments still owed to other clubs and to KSE (stadium loan legacy). We do not know yet what interest, if any, is being charged to the club.

“Potential losses of at least £120m (possibly £150m) over 2020 & 2021 demonstrate why Arsenal have to be so careful in transfer market.”

Mikel Arteta claims Arsenal are as big as Barcelona which helped convince Aubameyang to stay and sign new deal

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Chelsea vs Liverpool LIVE: Stream, TV channel, team news, kick-off time for TODAY’S huge Premier League match

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BLOG CHELSEA VS LIVERPOOL

LIVERPOOL continue their title defence against Chelsea in a HUGE Premier League game today.

Like the Reds, Chelsea also got off to a winning start after defeating Brighton 3-1 earlier in the week and both teams will be gunning for three points in this clash which could prove vital towards the end of the season.

  • Kick-off: 4.30pm
  • TV/live stream: Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League
  • Non Sky subscribers can buy a day pass to stream the match for £9.99 on NOW TV

Follow ALL of the latest updates below…

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Newcastle vs Brighton LIVE: Stream, score, TV channel – Maupay quickfire early double puts Seagulls in command

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BLOG NEWCASTLE VS BRIGHTON

NEWCASTLE are looking to make it two Premier League wins out of two as they host Brighton and Hove Albion.

Buoyed by new signings Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick, the Steve Bruce’s Magpies impressed on opening day with a 2-0 win at abject West Ham.

Visitors Brighton started with a spirited display at home to Chelsea on Monday, but ultimately ended up losing the game 3-1.

  • Newcastle vs Brighton is live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event.
  • Coverage on Sky Sports Premier League commences at 1pm – an hour before kick-off.
  • To stream the game live, head to your Sky Go account.
  • Non-Sky Sports subscribers can still watch all the action with a Now TV Day Pass from £9.99.
  • Newcastle XI: Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Lewis, Hayden, Shelvey, Hendrick, Saint-Maximin, Carroll, Wilson.
  • Brighton XI: Ryan, Lamptey, White, Webster, Dunk, Connolly, Bissouma, Maupay, Trossard, Alzate, March.

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