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Saka applauded on to pitch by Tottenham fans

Bukayo Saka

Tottenham fans put aside their fierce North London rivalries during their pre-season friendly on Sunday, welcoming Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka back to domestic duties for the first time since Euro 2020.

Saka was given a warm ovation on to the pitch by home supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when he replaced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The home fans also displayed a banner which read: "North London stands with Bukayo Saka and all players against racism and discrimination".

The game marked Saka’s first appearance since he was racially abused, alongside teammates Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, after missing a penalty in England's shootout defeat by Italy in the final.

A PFA-funded research project carried out by ethical data science company, Signify, found there was a 48% increase in unmoderated racist online abuse in the second half of the 2020/21 football season, with 50% of abusive accounts coming from the UK. Of the tweets analysed:

  • More than 100 posts containing direct, discriminatory abuse and serious threats were identified in each month of the 2020/21 season.
  • 1,781 offensive tweets from 1,674 accounts – all of which have been reported to Twitter for sanctioning.
  • 19% of abusive, racist posts are likely to have been removed directly by the user.

The PFA will continue to call on social media networks to make good on their promises to tackle racist abuse on their platforms. 

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