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‘Kick rapists off the pitch’ banner flown over Crystal Palace v Arsenal

A banner, which read ‘Kick rapists off the pitch’ was flown over the Crystal Palace v Arsenal game for fans to see above Selhurst Park.

Gunners fans teamed up with feminist campaign group Level Up to fly a banner, during the Premier League’s opening game, to call for football to kick rapists out of the game.

A banner was flown over that read ‘Kick Rapists Off The Pitch,’ after an ‘internationally renowned’ footballer was arrested on suspicion of rape, last month, in July.

The banner was co funded by Arsenal supporters and Level Up, with the campaign group explaining why they flew the banner over the ground.

“The Premier League are finally beginning to recognise the enormous influence that football has on our culture and our individual behaviours by introducing mandatory consent training,” Level Up co-director Seyi Falodun-Liburd told the Athletic.

“We want to see all the actions from our open letter implemented, particularly consequences and disciplinary actions for players who cause harm – and we want this done by an independent ombudsman, who sits outside of any business or club.”

The Premier League had announced on Thursday that it was bringing in mandatory sexual consent training to all players in the league.

A statement from Level Up said they “plan to disrupt the fanfare and demand England’s top tier takes more action on ‘a culture of impunity around sexual violence in football’.”

This follows after more players face accusations of rape, with Benjamin Mendy currently on bail awaiting trial for eight counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and one count of attempted rape.

The player who was recently accused remains unnamed but according to reports, his club knew of other allegations against the player for several months.

They have also decided against suspending the player or stopping him from playing, a decision that has definitely angered some.

Arsenal fan Mikey Franklin, who helped fund the banner on Friday, told the Athletic, “As a lifelong Arsenal fan, I want to see our club lead the league in fighting sexual violence.

“Anyone who is violent towards a woman must be held accountable, no matter how important they are to any team’s success.

“Sexual violence is a problem everywhere and I want Arsenal, given their importance in the Premier League, to lead the way.”

If football doesn’t take action against those who commit violent crimes against women they risk alienating 51% of the population.

The game itself saw Arsenal come away with maximum points on the opening night with a goal in each half enough to sweep aside Crystal Palace 2-0.

There is a lot of anticipation growing around the Emirates after an impressive pre-season and Mikel Arteta’s side delivered on the opening night with Gabriel Martinelli and a Marc Guehi own goal enough for the points.

New signings Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko both played their part with the Brazilian forward a constant threat through the middle and Zinchenko providing the assist for Martinelli’s headed first-half goal.

Palace improved as the game wore on and Aaron Ramsdale was called upon to make two top saves before some tricky work from Bukayo Saka led to Guehi heading past his own goalkeeper with six minutes left.

Player ratings

Palace: Guaita (6), Clyne (7), Andersen (7), Guehi (6), Mitchell (6), Doucoure (6), Schlupp (6), Eze (5), Ayew (7), Zaha (7), Edouard (6)

Subs: Mateta (6), Milivojovic (6), Hughes (6)

Arsenal: Ramsdale (8), White (6), Saliba (8), Gabriel (8), Zinchenko (7), Partey (7), Xhaka (7), Saka (8), Odegaard (7), Martinelli (7), Jesus (8)

Subs: Tierney (7), Nketiah (6), Lokonga (6)

Man of the Match: Gabriel Jesus

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to Sky Sports: “The most important thing is to win the first match, to build confidence and momentum, and then you can talk about things we need to improve – there were quite a few today, to be honest.

 “Saliba was superb tonight. The way we started the game and played in the first half hour was superb – we should have scored more. We had to play the game in ways we didn’t want to as it went on because Palace are able to do that to you. To win here, you need to suffer – we’ve done it and that’s part of the mentality we want to build, to come to places like this and win.

“You need the right balance because if you come short in terms of physicality in this game, you’re going to be exposed. To have players at the back of the right size is really important in these kinds of matches. That’s the resilience we need to win football matches and see them through. Aaron Ramsdale did incredibly well from the one-on-one and won the game for us.”

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on potential new signings to Sky Sports: “We are going to try. We have a few things going on now and if we get them it will be great – but for now, we have to work with the players we have.”

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to Sky Sports: “One of the set-piece coaches created the routine for the first goal and we practised it yesterday. Gabriel Jesus has the fear factor: he is always on your shoulder, he’s never standing still, he’s always moving and he’s so sharp. He has the intuition to get the ball off you so it’s difficult for defenders.”


Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira to Sky Sports: “We created two really good chances to score and we didn’t take them. In this game, you get punished really hard. Of course I’m disappointed because we could have scored, even if we didn’t create much.”

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira to Sky Sports: “Football is about trying to score goals and we played against a good side. It’s really difficult to control the game against teams that have really good players. We had the ball, we had situations but we didn’t create very much. In the key moments, we didn’t score to lift the crowd and build momentum. That is something we have to work on.”

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira to Sky Sports: “I was really pleased with the fitness levels of the players; physically, we worked hard until the end. You have to run hard against those sorts of teams. We have to be positive because neither side created lots of chances. From the small chances you create, you have to score.”

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