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Coronavirus: Online abuse of infected Linfield footballer blasted

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Carla Lockhart

Carla Lockhart

Carla Lockhart

A Northern Ireland MP has slammed those behind the online trolling of a Linfield player diagnosed with coronavirus.

This comes after social media users rallied in support of the footballer when he was targeted.

It was announced on Tuesday that the player, who is self-isolating, had contracted the virus.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart, who has been the victim of online abuse in the past, said the vile messages were typical of "who and what these trolls are".

"They are faceless individuals who don't look at the wider picture or the wider repercussions," she stated.

"This young man has contracted coronavirus and we want him to return to full health and strength. It's time for people to stand with him and not hurl all sorts of abuse at him.

"At the end of the day, the young man didn't choose to have this. It's something that many will actually suffer from within our province and it's important that no one is targeted for this.

"It's totally unacceptable and it shows once again that we need tighter regulations and legislation that enables the relevant authorities to act whenever this type of thing happens."

Meanwhile, many social media users vented their outrage at the "disgusting comments" Linfield's announcement was greeted with.

Trolls posted pictures and videos of celebrations and memes mocking the player.

"We are disliked greatly in football rivalry and that's dead on, but this is disgusting," one user said.

Another added: "Let's hope the player gets well, this can happen to any player and probably will and it doesn't matter what club you are in."

Windsor Park is undergoing a deep clean today in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

Linfield's home game against Larne on Saturday was postponed as a result of the player's diagnosis.

Speaking on Tuesday, Linfield FC chairman Roy McGivern said the club's priority is to look after the welfare of all of its players and staff.

He said the news was "very unpleasant" and issues around football will be addressed in due course.

Belfast Telegraph