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07 February 2021

As two Manchester United players face more racist abuse on social media, FA calls on Government to act

07 February 2021

The Football Association has called on the Government to act quickly in the fight against racism after Axel Tuanzebe and Lauren James were targeted on social media.

In a strong 127-word statement, the governing body offered its support to the Manchester United players after another weekend overshadowed by footballers suffering racist abuse.

Tuanzebe was again the subject of racism, having also been on the receiving end last month, after he gave away the free-kick which led to Everton securing a last-gasp draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.

James, the sister of Chelsea ace Reece and a forward for United’s women’s side, was sent a comment which contained the monkey emoji on Instagram this week.

An FA statement read: “It has been yet another weekend where players are facing discriminatory abuse and having to deal with anonymous keyboard warriors who hide in a world of impunity. At The FA, we believe that enough is enough.

“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real-life consequences.

“Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.

“We stand with Lauren James, Axel Tuanzebe and every victim of discrimination in all its forms. It’s time for change.”

Last month, the Duke of Cambridge, president of the FA, described the racist abuse aimed at footballers as “despicable” and urged it “must stop now.”

Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford (PA Wire)

This followed United trio Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Tuanzebe being the target of racism, while West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea full-back James were also sent racist messages on social media in January.

James’ sister Lauren took to Instagram on Sunday after a comment on her post this week contained two different monkey emojis.

She wrote: “@Instagram on a reall need to do something about it or they will lose so many individuals on their platform – cause that’s the only way they will actually listen. Some smart person out there got to be coming up with a platform where you have to prove ID to sign up.

“@Instagram doesn’t even have a clear ‘Racism’ option in their reporting system. Could even just remove any emojis with racist meanings. Too easy for some kid to press a few emojis in order to try & grab some attention.

“Too much talk around these days, and nothing ever gets done. Usual story.”

Earlier this week Southampton condemned the “abhorrent” racist abuse aimed at midfielder Alex Jankewitz on social media after Tuesday’s loss to United and revealed they were liaising with police in the hope they would “permanently remove those individuals from our football community.”

The PA news agency has approached Facebook and Instagram for a comment.

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