Brentford striker Ivan Toney was a victim of online racial abuse after scoring the equalizer against Arsenal on Saturday.
Following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Arsenal, Brentford claims they are “disgusted and saddened” by “abusive, racist texts” directed towards striker Ivan Toney. The 26-year-old, who scored an equalizer at Emirates Stadium, reportedly received a flood of direct messages on his Instagram account, according to the club. “How many times does this need to happen?” a Brentford statement read. “How many times does this need to happen? We call on football fans everywhere to relish the competition and rivalry that exists between us, but to respect and embrace our differences and celebrate the diversity that exists throughout the Premier League. There is no room for racism.”
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Arsenal issued a statement saying: “We support Ivan Toney and are collaborating with Brentford to find individuals who sent racial insults. At Arsenal, we condemn discrimination in any form and have a zero-tolerance policy. We will apply the strongest possible action to anyone we can identify by sending hateful messages.” The Premier League issued their own statement: “No one should have to face abuse of the kind received by Ivan Toney. It has no place in football or society. We are supporting Ivan and the club with investigations.”
Prior to Leandro Trossard’s goal after 66 minutes of play at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal struggled to penetrate the west Londoners’ defence. The advantage didn’t last long, though, as Ivan Toney scored an equalizer for the visitors just eight minutes later. However, Toney’s goal shouldn’t have counted because Christian Norgaard, who assisted Toney, was offside during the build-up. The Daily Mail claims that after analysing the goal, VAR Lee Mason failed to draw on the relevant lines, which was a major oversight that cost the Gunners dearly in the hunt for the Premier League title.
Chris Foy, a PGMOL representative who previously officiated in the English top division, said that VAR was checking for offside and to see if Ethan Pinnock had stopped Gabriel throughout the build-up. He examined the potential foul and determined there hadn’t been one, concluding that referee Peter Bankes hadn’t made a glaring mistake. Christian Norgaard, whose cross Toney heads in, is offside in the sequence leading up to the goal, though. In actuality, though, VAR just partially looked at the lines. The lines, simply, didn’t go down. That represents a human error. The goal would have been ruled invalid for offside had the lines moved downward. This was the trigger point for some distasteful fans and they started hurling abuse towards Ivan Toney.
This isn’t the first incident of online racial abuse towards Ivan Toney. In October, Toney shared a photo of an abusive message he had received on Twitter and police investigated. A judge referred to the message as “exceptionally disrespectful” and having “racist overtones” in court. At Newcastle Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Paul Currer stated that the case was “extremely serious.” The message, which was not read aloud in court, was tracked by police to an address in North Shields, North Tyneside, and the event was investigated as a hate crime.
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