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Leeds United confirm investigation, one arrest after Arsenal racism allegation

By Patric Ridge

London, December 19: Leeds United have confirmed an investigation has been opened into an allegation that Arsenal players were the subject of racist abuse during Saturday's Premier League match at Elland Road.

Arsenal beat Leeds 4-1 thanks to two goals from Gabriel Martinelli, plus strikes from Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

However, during the first half, referee Andre Marriner was called to the sidelines after Arsenal substitute Rob Holding held a discussion with the fourth official, with Mikel Arteta and a Leeds representative also listening in.

It was alleged Arsenal's bench had been the subject of racist abuse from the stands close to the dug-out, with Arsenal reporting the incident to the stadium manager.

Marriner then informed Arsenal's players not to celebrate in front of a section of the Leeds fans when Saka put them 3-0 up before half-time.

In his post-match news conference, Arsenal manager Arteta confirmed that allegation of racist abuse had been made.

"Yes, unfortunately I can confirm that," he told reporters. "It was reported to the stadium manager and then the authorities will deal with that.

"It was a player siting on the bench. One of the players heard those comments.

"[I'm] very disappointed because we have done so much in football to try to avoid it. But it is a single person. I don't think that merits that a full stadium pays the price.

"It was a single incident and it has to be reported. It was reported and now the authorities will have to work with the clubs to understand what happened."

Leeds subsequently confirmed an investigation had been opened and that one arrest had been in made in connection to the allegation.

"Racism will not be tolerated at Leeds United and any supporter found to be using racist language will be subject to a lifetime ban for all Leeds United games," a club statement read.

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Story first published: Sunday, December 19, 2021, 4:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 19, 2021