Alderweireld abused online after Belgian league match

·1 min read

BRUSSELS (AP) — Former Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld was targeted by online hate messages including threats against his family following a Belgian league match.

Alderweireld received the messages on social media after Antwerp rallied past Genk 2-1 in the league's playoffs on Sunday. Alderweireld scored Antwerp's first goal as his team came from behind to win.

“I don’t understand why you write this and what you want to achieve with this,” Alderweireld asked the abuser after posting screenshots of the hateful messages on Instagram. “Everything has limits. I can take quite a bit, but threatening my family is beyond me.”

Alderweireld is the latest high-profile soccer player in a long list to receive online abuse.

The scope of hate speech aimed at players was detailed by FIFA last year from research at the European Championship and Africa Cup of Nations tournaments in 2021. It said half of the players received some kind of discriminatory abuse, with most of it coming from their home country.

Genk condemned the abuse of Alderweireld.

“As a club, we explicitly distance ourselves from this,” it said.

Antwerp general manager Sven Jaecques said Alderweireld will go after his abuser and file a complaint, local newspapers reported.

"Many other players and coaches have already experienced the same as Toby. People who do this should be punished," Jaecques was quoted as saying.

Alderweireld was part of Belgium’s so-called “Golden Generation” of players who finished third at the 2018 World Cup. He quit international soccer earlier this year.


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The Associated Press