12-year-old boy from Solihull, Birmingham has been arrested after a string of vile, racist messages were sent to Crystal Palace footballer Wilfried Zaha.
The Ivory Coast international revealed series of racist messages he had received from an Aston Villa fan on Instagram.
The user, jackdolan_avfc, sent Zaha photos of the Ku Klux Klan and told the winger: ‘You better not score tomorrow you black c***. Or I’ll come to your house dressed as a ghost.’’
The messages appeared to be sent on the eve of Crystal Palace’s game against Aston Villa, who are fighting to survive relegation from the Premier League.
After widespread condemnation, the messages were higlighted to West Midlands Police and they confirmed on Sunday afternoon that a 12-year-old had been detained in connection with the racist abuse.
‘’We were alerted to a series of racist messages sent to a footballer today and after looking in them and conducting checks, we have arrested a boy,’ a statement read.
‘’The 12-year-old from Solihull has been taken to custody.
‘‘Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism won’t be tolerated’’.
The user also sent Zaha a photo of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
Zaha had also revealed the shocking frequency of how often he is racially abused by rival fans during games for Palace.
”Nearly every game I’m called a monkey or a n***** or a whatever, imagine if I really got down about that? He told the Jackal magazine.
‘‘I don’t know if we’re animals to them or whatever.
” Why is this okay? Why are you saying these things right next to your five-year-old kid?
‘’And then, when you leave, what, you’re back to being a normal dad, working a normal job? People mask this stuff.’’ He said.
Palace’s boss Roy Hodgson gave his full backing to Zaha for going public with the abuse and said both the Eagles and Villa were working together to find the person who sent the messages.
‘‘It is very saddening on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse,’ said the former England manager.
‘’I think it is right that Wilf made people aware of it; I don’t think it is something he should keep quiet about.
There is literally no excuse; there is no excuse at all’’. He stressed.
Villa beat Palace 2-0 to boost their survival hopes and Zaha was yellow carded shortly before half-time after an uncharacteristic kick out at Villa defender Ezra Konsa.