Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has described the increase in reports of alleged racist abuse in English football as “really painful” and bad for the game.
Premier League club Arsenal opened an investigation after a video on social media appeared to show a supporter racially abusing Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly during their Europa League encounter on Thursday.
Chelsea, in action at the same time away to Slavia Prague, slammed as an “embarrassment” the fans who allegedly sang racist songs about Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.
Raheem Sterling, Wilfried Zaha, Danny Rose and multiple Football League players have recently called out instances of abuse from the stands and on social media, while equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out has expressed concern about the level of discrimination at grassroots level.
Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown in his direction during the north London derby in December and the Gabon international expressed frustration when quizzed on the subject following the 2-0 win over Napoli.
“I am really disappointed about that,” Aubameyang told reporters.
“I had the same problem here against Tottenham. When you are black like me it is really painful, I think, because we are in 2019 and obviously it is not good for football in England.
“Hopefully we will find a way to kick it out.”
Arsenal are well placed to reach the Europa League semi-finals thanks to their polished first-leg performance against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, although their poor away form will come under scrutiny in the reverse fixture at Stadio San Paolo.
“We know away we have some difficulties. We have to improve that,” Aubameyang said.
“We are confident. We had a good result and we have everything in our hands. We will go there and try to win the game.
“If you win there I think you send a message to everybody. It will be an important game and a good challenge for us.”
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