Prince William demands end to 'despicable' racist abuse of footballers

·2-min read

The Duke of Cambridge has made an impassioned and personal intervention following a series of incidents of racist abuse against footballers, demanding "it must stop now".

Writing on the @KensingtonRoyal Twitter feed, Prince William said: "Racist abuse - whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media - is despicable and it must stop now.

"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. - W."

Posting the message himself with his initial W is a sign of his personal determination to make sure those at the highest levels commit to stamping out racism.

As well as condemning those who post messages of abuse online, he also specifically calls out the social media platforms for not taking enough responsibility.

It is a sphere the prince is very familiar with; in recent years he convened a cyberbullying task force asking social media and technology firms to work harder and closer together to stop harmful posts and activity.

He became frustrated at the apparent lack of accountability and a reluctance to clamp down on those who use the platforms to spread hatred and abuse.

William has addressed the issue of racism in the sport before as president of the Football Association, and a keen football fan himself.

It's understood he felt he had to speak out after incidents this week against Chelsea defender Reece James, West Brom's Romaine Sawyers and the Manchester United players Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial.

On Saturday night, Rashford tweeted to say he had received offensive messages after United's draw at Arsenal.

A statement from the Football Association over the weekend confirmed their commitment to address the problem, saying: "We are united with all of football in our abhorrence of racist abuse.

"We will continue to work with the rest of the game, the government and social media to remove this, and all elements of, discrimination from our sport."