rince William has demanded an immediate end to the “despicable” racist abuse of footballers online as pressure continues to mount on social media companies to do more to combat the issue.
Several players have spoken out over recent days after being sent abhorrent messages and comments.
On Saturday, the Football Association (FA) strongly condemned the abuse and pledged to continue working with “the rest of the game, the government and social media platforms” to remove it – and all other discrimination – from football.
Prince William has been president of the FA since 2006.
“Racist abuse – whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media – is despicable and it must stop now,” began a thread of tweets sent out by the official account of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation on Sunday that was signed with a ‘W’ for William.
“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. That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place.
“I commend all those players, supporters, clubs and organisations who continue to call out and condemn this abuse in the strongest terms.”
“Humanity and social media at its worst,” Rashford wrote on Twitter. “Yes I’m a black man and I live every day proud that I am. No one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you’re just simply not going to get it here.
“I’m not sharing screenshots. It would be irresponsible to do so and as you can imagine there’s nothing original in them. I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don’t need to read it. Beautiful colours that should only be celebrated.”
The Chelsea defender later tweeted: “We all have a part to play in making this world a better & more equal place! Racism is completely unacceptable! Human is our only race! @instagram@Twitter@Facebookyou must do more!! #notoracism.”
West Midlands Police also confirmed over the weekend that a man had been arrested after a racist message was sent to West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers during Tuesday’s match against Manchester City.
Manchester United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were also targeted by racial abuse online following the defeat by Sheffield United on Wednesday.