The Premier League is increasing the pressure on social media companies to tackle the racist abuse of its players, managers and coaches online with the launch of a new reporting system.

Racist abuse of current and former professionals has been sadly prevalent in recent years, with former Arsenal and England forward Ian Wright sharing some of the comments aimed at him recently.

The system will also be open to reports of abuse directed at family members of players, managers and coaches, the Premier League said.

The organisation’s chief executive Richard Masters said: “Online discriminatory abuse is unacceptable in any walk of life and tackling this issue must be a priority.

“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. Our commitment is to review each case and to take immediate follow-up action.”

The Premier League has given its support to the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks equality for black people in all areas of life.

Player names were replaced by the Black Lives Matter logo in the first round of fixtures in the restarted Premier League (Matt Childs/NMC Pool/PA)
Player names were replaced by the Black Lives Matter logo in the first round of fixtures in the restarted Premier League (Matt Childs/NMC Pool/PA)

The reporting system would allow abusive direct messages to be reviewed and reported to the social media platform concerned, with legal action to follow where appropriate.

Masters added: “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.

“We immediately implemented our reporting system and will support Ian in any endeavour to bring the offenders to justice.

“The Premier League will not tolerate discriminatory behaviour in any form and we, alongside the FA, EFL, PFA and LMA will continue to challenge major social media companies that fail to do enough to block offensive discriminatory material and identify and ban offenders from their platforms.

“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.”

A White Lives Matter banner was flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday night (Shaun Botterill/NMC Pool/PA)
A White Lives Matter banner was flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday night (Shaun Botterill/NMC Pool/PA)

As part of the show of support for the BLM movement, Premier League players have taken the knee after kick-off in matches played since the competition restarted earlier this month.

A plane trailing a banner which read ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ was flown over the Etihad Stadium during the Lancashire club’s Premier League match against Manchester City on Monday night.

The Clarets condemned the move and said it would issue lifetime bans to anyone found to have been involved.

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