Just two days after Burnley fans organised a plane to fly over their team’s match at Manchester City towing a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter’, the Premier League has stepped up its attempts to stamp out racist abuse online.
Former Arsenal forward Ian Wright recently shared the sickening abuse he has suffered on social media and many other current Premier League stars have endured similar taunts.
“Online discriminatory abuse is unacceptable in any walk of life and tackling this issue must be a priority,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said on Wednesday.
“There are too many instances of footballers and their families receiving appalling discriminatory messages; nobody should have to deal with this.
“Our central reporting system has been developed to provide a rapid response and support for any players, managers and coaches who have been victims of serious online discrimination, whether targeted at themselves or family members.”
The launch comes amid the growing Black Lives Matter movement, which has gathered momentum among Premier League players.
Top-flight teams have taken a knee before matches in support of the cause, while kits have a Black Lives Matter patch on them.
The reporting system will allow abusive direct messages to be reviewed and reported to the social media platform concerned, with legal action to follow where appropriate.
“We have recently been made aware of the wholly unacceptable online racist abuse received by Ian Wright. The Premier League strongly condemns this deeply offensive behaviour,” Masters said.
“We immediately implemented our reporting system and will support Ian in any endeavour to bring the offenders to justice.
“The Premier League and its clubs will also continue to work with the police, Crown Prosecution Service and Kick It Out to identify and ban offenders from Premier League grounds.”