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30 Jan, 2021 14:36

‘You must do more’: Chelsea captain pleads with social media giants for protection after English FA condemns yet more racist abuse

‘You must do more’: Chelsea captain pleads with social media giants for protection after English FA condemns yet more racist abuse

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has urged Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to "do more" against trolls who have sent racist abuse to youngster Reece James, adding that he cannot fathom how bullies "have such hate in their heart".

The worsening crisis of online abuse against footballers took another grim turn on Saturday when Chelsea defender James revealed messages calling him a "monkey", "trash" and telling the England prospect he had "dirty black skin".

Shortly afterwards, West Midlands Police announced that they had arrested a 49-year-old man near Birmingham on suspicion of sending racial abuse to Romaine Sawyers the previous day in a separate incident that the midfielder's club, West Brom, called "abhorrent".

Baggies boss Sam Allardyce had suggested that players and organizations could take legal action in order to address the escalating problem, and shocked Azpilicueta asked social media chiefs to play their part.

"We’re with you, Reece," the Spain international announced to his millions of followers.

"How can people have such hate in their heart? Twitter, Instagram, Facebook - you must do more."

Blues players Edouard Mendy, Ben Chilwell and Billy Gilmour also showed public support for James after the 21-year-old was joined by the club in calling for change and revealed another message opposing the "No Room for Racism" campaign and telling him to "shut up, ugly clown".

On another dispiriting day for anti-discrimination efforts in England, the country's FA also released a statement promising to work with "the government and social media platforms" to "remove" abuse.

Chelsea said they were "disgusted" by the "hateful" messages and teammate Thiago Silva offered solidarity to James.

"Something needs to change," responded the Brazil veteran. "There is no room for racism. I’m with you, bro."

Also on rt.com ‘He is extremely upset’: Premier League boss warns players could launch lawsuits over racism after club calls in police over abuse