Police probe racist abuse of Wales footballers

Rod Minchin
·3-min read

Police are investigating after Wales footballers Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo were racially abused on social media.

Cabango and Matondo, both 20, received abusive messages on Instagram after Wales’s 1-0 win over Mexico in Cardiff on Saturday.

Matondo has criticised Instagram, while the Football Association of Wales said it is “disgusted”.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it has permanently removed the accounts from which the messages were sent and is “committed to doing more”.

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Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd Williams, of South Wales Police, said: “Tackling hate crime has always been a priority for South Wales Police – this behaviour is something that will not be tolerated in our community.

“The force takes hate crime seriously and we have worked closely with those involved in football to raise awareness of hate crime amongst players and supporters.”

Winger Matondo, who is on loan at Stoke City from Schalke 04, wrote on Twitter: “And it continues… another week of @instagram doing absolutely nothing about racial abuse.

“My insta will get taken down if I post any clips from my games though… #priorities”

The Football Association of Wales said it is “disgusted” by the racial abuse directed towards players.

“The FAW are in dialogue with South Wales Police to ensure this kind of abhorrent behaviour is reported and investigated,” said a statement on Twitter.

“The FAW joins other national associations and clubs in urging social media platforms and regulatory authorities to take stronger, more effective and urgent action against this despicable behaviour.”

Cabango’s club, Swansea City, offered their “unequivocal” support to the defender.

“As a football club, we are appalled by this. No-one should have to endure this type of abuse,” said chief executive Julian Winter.

Wales’ Ben Cabango (right) jostles with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano and after the game he was subjected to racial abuse on social media (PA).
Wales’s Ben Cabango (right) jostles with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano during Saturday’s match(David Davies/PA)

The Wales pair join a growing list of black players who have been subjected to online abuse in recent weeks.

Manchester United quartet Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Fred have all been targeted, with the latter saying “we cannot feed that culture” after being racially abused last weekend.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesman said: “We don’t want this type of abuse on Instagram and have removed the accounts that sent these messages to Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo this weekend.

“We recently announced that we’ll take tougher action when we become aware of people breaking our rules in DMs. This work is ongoing and we are committed to doing more.

“We also know these problems are bigger than us, so are working with the industry, government and others to collectively drive societal change through action and education.”