Arsenal are giving their ‘full support’ to one of their rising starlets after he was subjected to ‘unacceptable’ and ‘sickening’ racist abuse in a pre-season friendly.
Promising young right-back Jordi Osei-Tutu was reduced to tears after being targeted during German side VFL Bochum’s warm up fixture against St Gallen in Switzerland.
Osei-Tutu, 20, joined second tier Bochum last month.
In footage that emerged on social media, Osei-Tutu was left so distraught by the incident he can be seen walking away from the off camera flashpoint, which happened just before half-time, and the ball while the game was ongoing.
He then slumped to the ground before rising to speak to the referee and then walk off the pitch, visibly and understandably upset and angry, while his teammates tried to console him.
Osei-Tutu returned to finish the half and play a part of the second after a further conversation with the referee.
Arsenal’s loan manager Ben Knapper and academy Per Mertesacker were both in contact with Osei-Tutu as his parent club rallied round him following the incident.
A club statement read: ‘Last night Jordi Osei-Tutu received unacceptable racial abuse playing for VfL Bochum during a pre-season friendly match against Swiss club St Gallen.
‘We are working closely with Bochum and Jordi and we are giving him our full support.
‘Racism has no place in our game and we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.’ Osei-Tutu said: ‘I am very disappointed about what happened.
‘No one should ever be subject to any discrimination and it is really hard to understand how a fellow professional footballer could do this.
‘Arsenal and Bochum have provided great support to me and I hope that if nothing else, we can show that racism has no place within football.’
Anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out and Bochum also spoke out in support of Osei-Tutu.
KIO said: ‘Before the season has even begun a young player has endured sickening racist abuse.
‘If anyone is in any doubt about the devastating impact such abuse can have, look at the footage of Jordi Osei-Tutu.
‘After last season we can only hope this is not a grim sign of things to come. We have offered support to Jordi alongside Arsenal FC his parent club.’ VFL Bochum said: ‘VFL vehemently condemns all forms of racism, Jordi we stand behind you.
‘The incident in yesterday’s test game against FC St.Gallen 1879 will be further processed with all participants. The club reserves the right to take further steps’.