Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Phil Neville calls for social media boycott in wake of Pogba racist abuse

 

 

England women’s manager Phil Neville believes football players should boycott social media in the wake of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba becoming the latest high-profile figure to suffer racist abuse online.

Pogba was targeted after his penalty was saved in United’s 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday just days after Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham suffered similar abuse.

“I think we probably have to take drastic measures now as a football community – I’ve had it with my players on social media, the Premier League stars and the Championship have had it,” said Neville on Tuesday.

“I just wonder whether as a football community we come off social media. Because Twitter won’t do anything about it, Instagram won’t do anything about it – they send you an email reply saying they’ll investigate but nothing happens.

“I’ve lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so let’s send a powerful message: come off social media [for] six months. Let’s see the effect it has on these social media companies.”

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire also called on social media giants Twitter and Instagram to be more pro-active to stop “pathetic trolls”.

“Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it,” Maguire, the world’s most expensive defender after an £80-million ($97-million) move from Leicester earlier this month, posted on Twitter.

“Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people. @Twitter @instagram.”

Some of the tweets aimed at Pogba were later deleted while several accounts appeared to have been taken down.

Twitter’s terms and conditions say it “takes action against behaviour that targets individuals with hateful conduct”.

‘Disgusted’

United said they were “disgusted” by the abuse.

“The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club and it is encouraging to see the vast majority of our fans condemn this on social media also,” the club said in a statement.

“Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our #AllRedAllEqual initiative.

“We will work to identify the few involved in these incidents and take the strongest course of action available to us. We also encourage social media companies to take action in these cases.”

Many commentators argued that Pogba should have let Marcus Rashford take the vital penalty at Molineux after the England international scored from the spot against Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season.

However, Rashford also showed his public support for Pogba.

“Manchester United is a family. @paulpogba is a huge part of that family. You attack him you attack us all…” said Rashford.

As well as Abraham, Championship side Reading’s Yakou Meite have suffered similar abuse in the past week.

Anti-discrimination charity “Kick It Out” published a report in July that stated incidents of racist abuse increased by 43 percent last season.

“The number of posts such as these since the start of the season further highlights how discriminatory abuse online is out of control,” the body said on Tuesday.

“Without immediate and the strongest possible action these cowardly acts will continue to grow.”

Abraham missed the final penalty in a shootout as Chelsea lost to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup last Wednesday. The posts aimed at him were described as “abhorrent” by Chelsea and manager Frank Lampard said he was “disgusted”.

Lampard also called for social media sites to do more to prevent players being abused while Abraham has said he wants to “silence the haters” with his performances on the pitch.

Chelsea banned a supporter for life in July for racially abusing Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling last season.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Kieran Canning
Kieran Canning
Football correspondent for Agence France Presse in London. Still a follower of all things Spanish football. Views here are my own

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Kenya’s beach boys fall into sex tourism, trafficking

In the face of their families’ poverty, young men, persuaded by the prospect of wealth or education, travel to Europe with their older female sponsors only to be trafficked for sex

High court reinstates Umgeni Water board

The high court has ruled that the dissolution of the water entity’s board by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was unfair and unprocedural

Mkhize throws the book at the Special Investigating Unit

It’s a long shot at political redemption for the former health minister and, more pressingly, a bid to avert criminal charges
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×