Arsenal’s Maitland-Niles opens up about racial abuse on football pitch

Arsenal’s 21-year-old English professional footballer Ainsley Maitland-Niles says he was racially abused when representing the Gunners’ youth team in Germany when he was 12.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles spoke about the abuse he faced in the light of recent alleged racist abuse towards Raheem Sterling in Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in the English Premier League game.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles went on to provide details while talking in the pre-match post press conference against Qarabag in the Europa League.

“Yes, I have not at the professional level, but growing up in the youth ranks. I was 12. I was at Arsenal at the time; it was an away trip to a German side I think,” he told, as per Sky Sports report.

“I reported it, but nothing was done about it. I guess I just had to move on from it and become stronger from that.

“It was pretty much similar to what Raheem got, to be honest. I went to pick up the ball for a throw-in, and there was a bit of racial abuse behind me. What can I do except get on with the game?

“It hurts to talk about it; it hurts to think about it. But that’s why I think it’s so important that we need to get rid of it in the game. It’s not just footballers that need to be on board with it – it’s the press, the media, and staff as well.

“At the time I just spoke with my dad about it. He gave me a heads up and showed me it was racism before a time when I was playing football, and there still is in the game now.

“I just think if a lot of the football clubs and the players can get together and join forces to put our heads to it and try to kick it out. It would be the best thing possible.”

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