Erik Pieters: Burnley 'offering support' after social media abuse aimed at defender

Burnley defender Erik Pieters
Erik Pieters received abuse under a post he made on Instagram

Burnley are "offering support" to Erik Pieters after social media abuse was aimed at the defender following their 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

The London side felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the game after the ball struck the Dutch international's hand in the area.

Pieters later received abusive messages on a recent Instagram post he made to wish his wife a happy Valentine's Day.

Some of the messages wished harm on his wife and unborn child.

"We are aware of online abuse directed at Erik Pieters following yesterday's game," the club said.external-link

"We are in contact with all relevant parties and offering our support to Erik and his family."

Match officials opted against penalising the Clarets, citing proximity, as they believed the ball only travelled a short distance before it hit Pieters' hand.

However, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta felt the decision should have gone their way: "It cannot be any clearer," he said.

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The government has threatened social media companies with "large fines" which could amount to "billions of pounds" if they fail to tackle abuse on their platforms.

The issue has grown in recent months following a number of high profile cases of players being targeted on social media - many of them black players receiving racist abuse.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has said it is working to eradicate abuse from its platforms and it will remove accounts which continue to violate its rules but there have been calls for more to be done and tougher punishments.

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