Prince William, who is president of England’s Football Association described the recent spate of racist abuse aimed Premier League players as “despicable”, saying in a tweet: “It must stop now.”
The FA vowed to work with the British government and social media platforms to tackle racism after players from Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United were targeted by online abuse during the past week.
In the aftermath of his team’s goalless draw with Arsenal on Saturday, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford said he was racially abused on social media platforms.
Rashford did not post screenshots of the offensive messages he received after the match, instead tweeting that it was “humanity and social media at its worst.”
“Yes I’m a black man and I live every day proud that I am,” he wrote.
“No one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different…”
Greater Manchester Police said in a statement it was investigating racist comments sent to United players, with two of Rashford’s teammates – Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial – also reportedly targeted this week.
“Nobody should be subject to such abuse and it is deeply upsetting not only to those who suffer it, but to all those who come across this awful language too,” a GMP statement said.
“These hateful words have no place anywhere in our society whether online or otherwise.”
The FA doubled down on its commitment to stamping out discrimination of all kinds.
“We are united with all of football in our abhorrence of any racist abuse,” it said in a statement.
“This is not acceptable in any part of society.
“We will continue to work with the rest of the game, the government and social media platforms to remove this – and all elements of – discrimination from our sport.”
Prince William said he commended all players and clubs who highlighted the abuse and said social media companies must do more.
“We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate and division are held accountable for their actions,” the said in a post from the official Twitter account of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place.”
On Friday, a man was arrested on suspicion of racially abusing West Bromwich Albion midfielder Romaine Sawyers online during the team’s heavy loss to Manchester City on Tuesday.
On Friday, Chelsea’s Reece James posted a screenshot of racist messages he had received on Instagram.