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28th Jan 2021

Anton Ferdinand calls for less talk, more action as Man United players racially abused

Anton Ferdinand has called for less talk and more action in the fight against racism on social media platforms after Manchester United players were targeted

Reuben Pinder

“Conversations need to turn into action fast”

Anton Ferdinand has called for social media companies to take more action in combatting racism on online platforms after Manchester United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were subjected to racist abuse on Wednesday night.

Tuanzebe and Martial were singled out for criticism after United’s loss to Sheffield United, as the comments sections on their Instagram pages were flooded with abusive messages and racial slurs.

Posting an image of Tuanzebe with a screenshot of the abuse he received, Ferdinand tweeted: What’s it gonna take for the platforms and authorities to act on this?

“Yes we’re having positive conversations as a collective but these conversations need to turn into action fast as this is quickly becoming the norm,” he wrote, tagging the Premier League, the FA, anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out, as well as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

He then responded to his own tweet, bringing it to the attention of Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Ferdinand has become vocal in the fight against racism in football over the past year following the episode that involved him and John Terry. Terry was found not guilty in a criminal court.

The former West Ham and Sunderland defender released a documentary about his personal experiences of racism last year.

Manchester United have issued a statement condemning the abuse received by Tuanzebe and Martial, saying: “Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it.

“Identifying these anonymous mindless idiots remains problematic. We urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour.”

Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari said:

“We will continue to work with the football authorities, law enforcement and social media companies to try and rid football of hateful and discriminatory behaviour. As we have said before, online hate must have real-life consequences, so people don’t continue to spread hate as freely as they wish.”

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