12-year-old boy arrested over racist messages to Wilfried Zaha

A 12-year-old boy has been arrested by police investigating racist messages sent to Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha on social media.

He posted several screenshots of the racist abuse he had received to his social media accounts on Sunday morning before Palace’s match against Aston Villa on Sunday, alongside the caption: “Woke up to this today.”

His manager Roy Hodgson called the abuse “cowardly and despicable”.

The Premier League called the abuse of the 27-year-old Ivory Coast winger “completely unacceptable”.

In a statement on Twitter, Zaha said:

“Very disappointed we didn’t get a better result yesterday but I wanted to come on here to thank you for all your messages of support.

“I would also like to thank West Midlands Police for their swift action in making an arrest.

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

“It is important social media platforms do as they did yesterday and seek out these individuals and remove them.

“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 I received and move on.

“It isn’t enough to just say #notoracism. We need action, we need education, things need to change.”

West Midlands Police said they arrested a boy from Solihull in relation to the incident:

“The 12-year-old boy arrested in connection with racist social media messages sent to a footballer has been released under investigation while our enquiries continue. Racism has no place in society and we’re attempting to contact the footballer to obtain a statement.” West Midlands Police said on Twitter.

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