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Professional Footballers’ Association gathering evidence to highlight racism

The PFA’s #Enough campaign urged players to stay off social media for 24 hours.

Raheem Sterling is among the Premier League players to have suffered racist abuse this season (Martin Rickett/PA)
Raheem Sterling is among the Premier League players to have suffered racist abuse this season (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) will collate evidence of racist abuse suffered by players to demonstrate the severity of the issue to government and social networks.

Following Friday’s 24-hour social media boycott by professional footballers, the PFA wants continued player support and has set up an email address to allow union members to report racism.

The PFA is preparing to take its anti-racism message to sports minister Mims Davies and social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and is in the process of arranging meetings for next month.

According to the PFA, more than 90 million people were reached by the first stage of the #Enough campaign, with David Beckham, Eden Hazard and Dele Alli among those joining last week’s social media boycott.

Simone Pound, head of equalities at the PFA, said in a statement: “Players, fans and other organisations all joined together to use their platforms in a really powerful way to highlight that racist language and discrimination of all kinds is unacceptable in football and society.

“Now that we have made such an impact, we have to follow that up with empowered action. That’s why we’re asking members to share any evidence of racist abuse they’ve received with us.

“We will collate everything we receive together and share that at our meetings with government and social networks.

“The response we receive at those meetings will determine the next steps of the campaign, but we will continue to update our members of campaign progress publicly.”

The PFA was already scheduled to attend a meeting in May with the sports minister at Wembley, alongside the Football Association, campaign group Kick It Out and other football bodies.

The union is in the process of confirming a meeting date with Facebook, who contacted the PFA following Friday’s campaign activity, while a meeting with Twitter has been requested.

Rangers captain James Tavernier took part in the PFA boycott but revealed on Thursday that he had been targeted by racist abuse, sharing an image of the offensive message on Instagram.

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James Tavernier shared an image of racist abuse directed at him on Instagram (Ian Rutherford/PA)

The Scottish club later confirmed police have been called over the abuse.

A Rangers statement read: “This is simply unacceptable and Police Scotland have been notified.

“Rangers puts a lot of time, effort and resource into various programmes aimed at bringing people of different faiths, backgrounds, cultures and beliefs closer together and we abhor this kind of abuse.

“No one should be subjected to behaviour of this kind.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We have received a complaint and inquiries are ongoing.”

PA

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