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Is racism in football getting worse?

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Racial abuse aimed at Paul Pogba the latest in a series of episodes this season

One-Minute Read
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 5:57am

Experts say racism in football is “out of control” after Manchester United said they were “disgusted” by racial abuse aimed at Paul Pogba after the midfielder missed a penalty in the draw against Wolves on Monday night.

The club vowed to take the “strongest course of action” against any person found guilty of racism, adding: “The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club and it is encouraging to see the vast majority of our fans condemn this on social media also.”

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The abuse was the latest in a series of incidents, Sky News says. On Sunday, Reading’s Yakou Meite faced racial abuse after he missed a penalty in a 3-0 win over Cardiff in the Championship. Last week, Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham was targeted online after missing a spot kick against Liverpool in the Uefa Super Cup final in Turkey.

Kick It Out, the anti-racism charity, said: “The latest round of fixtures have again seen unwarranted and vile racist abuse sent to players.”

This “further highlights how discriminatory abuse online is out of control”, the charity said as it called for “immediate and the strongest possible action”.

Commentators have argued that the problem of racism is worsening. The Independent said that “last season marked a frightening step backwards”. Samuel Lovett listed a series of incidents including “a banana skin on the pitch at the Emirates… monkey chants and Islamophobia”.

Statistics gathered by Kick It Out showed reports of racism in English football rose by 43% - from 192 to 274 - last season. With three high-profile incidents already this campaign, patience is wearing thin.

Phil Neville, the England women’s team manager and former Manchester United star, has suggested a boycott to force social media companies to act.

“I’ve lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so I just wonder whether now as a football community, in terms of really sending a powerful message, is: come off social media,” said Neville.

“Six months – let’s come off social media. Let’s see the effect that it has on these social media companies, whether they’re really going to do something about it.”

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