Ian Wright praises player for reporting racist abuse at Elland Road

Ian Wright has praised Arsenal’s Rob Holding for drawing attention to comments made by a Leeds fan directed at one of his teammates while they were on the subs bench. The racist abuse at Elland Road came as The Gunners beat the Yorkshire side 4-1 to continue their fine form in recent matches.

The win was partly overshadowed by the incident that actually forced a break in play in the first half. Referee Andre Mariner called a halt to proceedings in the 32nd minute after Holding alerted the fourth official to a comment made from a Leeds supporter, aimed at one of his fellow Arsenal substitutes.

The game restarted after Mariner had spoken with Holding and members of the Arsenal coaching staff, but the ref had to intervene again and warn Bukayo Saka not to celebrate his goal in front of the Leeds fans shortly before half-time. A fan was arrested after the game and a full investigation has been started by the football club.

Leeds United can confirm that an investigation into claims of racism during the first half of our game with Arsenal is underway and that one arrest has been made in connection to the allegation,” a statement read.

“Racism will not be tolerated at Leeds United and any supporter found to be using racist language will be subject to a lifetime ban for all Leeds United games.”

Ian Wright is a driving force in the effort to take racism out of football and out of wider society, and he has praised Rob Holding for pointing out the racist abuse at Elland Road. He told Premier League Productions: “You have to applaud people like Rob Holding. When you are being racially abused it’s very difficult to get up and do that as a black person without people coming down and piling on and saying “here he goes, here he goes”.

“So for Rob Holding to get up and do that for his teammates is something for me, being in a dressing room and knowing what that’s like wanting that kind of help, that is fantastic. What should happen now is he should be found, we should be able to find him because it’s there for everyone to see and he should be prosecuted and banned.”

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Written by

Claire Gordon