Pep Guardiola condemned the recent spate of social-media attacks on players and officials, but took the opportunity to reiterate his defence of Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva.
Referee Mike Dean asked to be stood down from Premier League duty this weekend, after being subjected to threats online following the controversial game between West Ham and Fulham in which he sent off Tomas Soucek despite replays suggesting the Hammers midfielder had done nothing wrong in his tangle with Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Soucek won his appeal, and it ultimately mattered little as his dismissal came extremely late in the game with Fulham that ended 0-0.
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But the initial decision saw Dean subjected to abuse, and prompted his decision to pull out from the weekend round of games.
Guardiola said there is no place in society for abuse of any kind, but also took the opportunity to defend Bernardo who was hit with a ban and fine in 2019 for what the FA adjudged to be a racist social media post directed at team-mate Benjamin Mendy.
When asked for his views on abuse aimed at players and Dean, Guardiola said: “They have to be careful about the messages. It is difficult to control social media. What happened in South America when one football player killed himself and we say it is a pity but maybe we forget what the people said to this guy - maybe about he was not a good player, or the colour of his skin, or something about his family or his kids or his personal life.
People today who are in public life are sometimes accused for many, many things, for example what happened to Bernardo Silva here when he was called a racist when he is one of the most gentle and kind and nicest person I ever met.
“We have to be careful but the people who judge other ones have to because maybe the people who suffer are not strong enough [for it].
“A referee can make a mistake but it is incredible how people can accuse that or accuse players who make a mistake of racism.
“All the guys, all the referees, all the players, all the managers want to do a good job, they don't want to make a mistake or miss a chance or a penalty. It's part of the job.
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“Always it is about winning, winning, winning. Why don't we start saying it is good to play, it is a game, have fun. Everybody is involved, we cannot judge the guys who accuse someone when everyone is involved.”
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