20 October 2022

West Ham contact police over ‘racist and abusive’ messages sent to Hawa Cissoko

20 October 2022

West Ham have announced they have contacted police and social media companies regarding “a number of racist and abusive messages” sent to defender Hawa Cissoko after the 2-1 win at Aston Villa last weekend.

Saturday’s Women’s Super League contest at the Poundland Bescot Stadium saw Cissoko sent off late on following an altercation with Villa’s Sarah Mayling.

Cissoko posted a message on Twitter later that day saying: “It’s lucky that not much affects me! Because some nonsense and (very aggressive) insults are flying around! It makes you want to kill yourself!”

On Thursday, the 25-year-old France international’s club released a statement that said: “West Ham United can confirm that we have reported a number of racist and abusive messages directed at our player Hawa Cissoko following Saturday’s Barclays Women’s Super League fixture against Aston Villa.

“While we in no way condone Hawa’s actions on the pitch, for which she has apologised, everyone at the club is disgusted by the hateful content of the online messages subsequently sent to her. They have been passed directly to the police and reported to the relevant social media companies.

“There is no place for this in society and we condemn it unreservedly. Hawa continues to receive the full support of everyone at the club, including through our dedicated employee assistance programme, which provides care and protection for the wellbeing of all staff.

“West Ham United continues to be unequivocal in its stance – we have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the football club, and we urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen their measures to prevent this abhorrent behaviour.”

There is no place for this in society and we condemn it unreservedly.

Cissoko herself posted a tweet that said: “”Black ass, n****, hello Africa, Antonio, Lukaku, Kamini” and so on! For reacting to an action? But what do my origins, my skin colour and my physique have to do with this story? Alala”

She also posted a message that said: “I would like to express my sincere regret for my actions towards the end of the match on Saturday.

“There was no excuse for my reaction, especially as I am considered to be a role model for others. I would like to apologise to my opponent, my team-mates and our supporters.

“In contrast to those finding pleasure in sending me abusive and hateful messages, a massive thank you to those who have sent me words of support.”

Earlier, Villa boss Carla Ward described online abuse suffered by both Cissoko and Mayling as “horrific” and “absolutely unacceptable”.

Speaking at her press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton, Ward said: “Sarah and Hawa have been subject to some, quite honestly, horrific abuse online, both of them.

“They’re both human beings, good human beings at that. They’ve been involved in an altercation that’s happened in a highly-charged and emotional game, and I’m sure they’re both very sorry for the incident that happened.

“But the fact of the matter is neither of them, nobody deserves to have to go through what they went through in terms of that online abuse.

“Nobody should be subject to that. I think the abuse for both of them has been absolutely unacceptable.”

After Cissoko’s dismissal, West Ham boss Paul Konchesky was also shown a red card for his involvement in a subsequent altercation.

The Football Association on Thursday afternoon announced various charges related to the end of the game, saying in a statement: “Aston Villa Women and West Ham United Women have been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20 following their Women’s Super League game on Saturday 15 October 2022. It’s alleged that both clubs failed to ensure their players and/or officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion around the 91st minute.

“Hawa Cissoko has been charged with two breaches of FA Rule E3. It is alleged that the West Ham defender’s behaviour was violent following the offence that she was subsequently sent off for, and that it was also improper afterwards in the technical area.

“Paul Konchesky and Jack Hopkins have been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3. It is alleged that the behaviour of West Ham’s manager and Aston Villa’s operations assistant was also improper around the 91st minute.”

The clubs, Cissoko, Konchesky and Hopkins have until Monday to respond to the charges.

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