Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has written to his players with a promise to deliver funding in a effort to combat racism after a spate of incidents of online abuse over the last week.

Reece James revealed vile messages had been sent to him on social media, while Manchester United trio Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe were also targeted by racist abuse along with West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers.

James was abused last week in the latest vile incident of online racism

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James was abused last week in the latest vile incident of online racism

Abramovich is understood to have written to each member of the Chelsea men’s squad, including James, to express how ‘appalled’ he was by the abuse and his renewed desire to fight it.

“I am appalled by the racist abuse targeted at Reece on social media,” the Russian said.

“Racism has no place in our club nor in our society. Our club is committed to fighting racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination.

“We cannot allow this to continue unchecked. I have therefore directed the board to further increase the club’s efforts in this area and I will personally direct more funds towards this important work.”

He said he wanted Chelsea to ‘do more to challenge discrimination at our club, in our communities and in the world around us’.

Rashford also hit out at abuse last week

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Rashford also hit out at abuse last week

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden says the Government’s Online Harms Bill will “crack down on online abuse” and tweeted: “Thank you so much to all the players who have called out the racial abuse they’ve received online.

“Their experiences will be at the top of my mind as we take this Bill through parliament.”

The bill contains provisions to fine social media companies a proportion of their turnover if they fail to prevent and tackle online abuse.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has repeated the calls for social media platforms get a grip.

“I don’t this is just a matter of footballers or famous people,” the United said.

“Of course that gets highlighted. In a sense, it’s good that we talk about it, highlight it again, but it’s unacceptable behaviour.

“It happens all across the society and of course we work with the authorities and it has to be stopped.

“This way of discrimination on social media, we can’t do a lot can we?

“So we have to work with the platforms and they’ve got to be stronger to make sure that we stop this.”


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