Arsenal are supporting youngster Jordi Osei-Tutu after he was allegedly subjected to racist abuse while playing in a pre-season friendly for loan club VfL Bochum.
The 20-year-old defender signed for Bochum, who are in Germany’s second tier, on a season-long loan and featured in the warm-up match against Swiss Super League team St Gallen on Tuesday.
Following the opening goal for the home side towards the end of the first half, streamed on Bochum’s YouTube channel, Osei-Tutu appeared to become involved in an exchange with St Gallen goalscorer Sliman Kchouk.
After the ball was then cleared back up field towards the Bochum goal, Osei-Tutu moved towards the centre circle and, visibly distressed, remonstrated with the referee before walking off the pitch.
The defender, fighting back tears, shrugged off team-mates before being escorted away by a member of the Bochum coaching staff. Following a delay while Osei-Tutu composed himself to return, the referee eventually blew up for half-time.
After the game, Osei-Tutu posted a reply on his Instagram story to a message of support from a fan with the caption ‘say no to racism’.
On Wednesday afternoon, both VfL Bochum and St Gallen issued statements over the incident, while parent club Arsenal stressed “racism has no place in our game”.
A statement from the Premier League club 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 added in the Arsenal club statement: “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.”
Bochum also offered the club’s full backing to the youngster.
“Jordi Osei-Tutu was unfortunately the victim of a racist incident yesterday evening during a pre-season friendly between St Gallen and VfL Bochum,” a statement read.
“VfL Bochum, Jordi Osei-Tutu and his parent club, Arsenal, are in close coordination to deal with this incident. Both clubs, VfL and Arsenal, stand by Jordi Osei-Tutu and assure him of their full support.
“We do not tolerate any form of discrimination. Racism has no place in our game.”
Football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out also offered their support to the Arsenal defender.
“Before the new 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,” a statement read.
“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.”
St Gallen said in a statement the club “makes clear that it strongly condemns all forms of racism and discrimination. Corresponding misconduct would be immediately sanctioned.”
However, the Swiss side also suggested their player had not made a racist comment.
The statement added: “Our players have a respectful relationship with each other, regardless of origin, skin colour or religion.
“In a clarifying conversation with the managers, the player concerned credibly assured that he had also adhered to this club principle yesterday in the match against VfL Bochum.”