Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has written to his players promising to direct funding to efforts to stamp out discrimination after a spate of incidents of online abuse over the last week.
Blues defender Reece James shared vile messages he had been sent, while Manchester United trio Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe were also targeted by racist abuse along with West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers.
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 (James) 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”.
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.