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Hayes condemns 'racial profiling' following Lauren James abuse

Lauren James was subjected to online racist abuse following Chelsea's defeat to Arsenal

Emma Hayes has hit out at the “racial profiling” of Lauren James following a spate of online abuse directed towards the Chelsea star.

The comments come following a barrage of abuse, much of it racial, in the wake of Chelsea’s defeat to Arsenal, forcing the club to last night issue a statement condemning it.

The vitriol came in the wake of an incident in the second half in which James appeared to stamp on Arsenal midfielder Lia Walti, with hallmarks of her high-profile sending off in this summer's World Cup noted by many. James was substituted shortly after.

Reflecting on the criticism of James, Hayes said: “Some of the language I’ve seen used to vilify her externally I think is unacceptable. If I’m in her position, I’d be thinking that there’s racial profiling going on and I think it’s important for the country to recognise that she is an important talent and is learning all the time.”

Speaking prior to Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Swedish side FC Haken, Hayes likened the intense scrutiny of the England youngster to that received by David Beckham following his sending off against Argentina in 1998.

Urging the media to be cautious in their “labelling” of the youngster, Hayes said: “I don’t see the same level of abuse attributed to other players in the league who might have had their own challenging moments.”

The latest abuse is not the first that has been faced by the Chelsea attacker.

Her sending off against Nigeria at this summer’s World Cup led to a wave of abuse that forced the England team to release a statement defending her.

In 2021 as a Manchester United player, James called for Instagram to ban the use of emojis with racial connotations to prevent trolling following racist abuse being directed towards her and her brother, Chelsea captain Reece James.

On the pitch, the Chelsea manager urged her maverick attacker to adapt to opposition tactics that often seek to provoke her into retaliation, to prevent instances like that in Sunday’s game.

Hayes noted: “She has to learn to handle it and, managing emotions comes with maturity and that isn’t there yet.”

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