Manchester United have strongly condemned the racial abuse directed at Ashley Young on social media following the club’s Champions League exit at Barcelona.
The 33-year-old full-back was targeted on Twitter in the wake of Tuesday night’s 3-0 second-leg defeat at the Nou Camp which saw United exit the competition at the quarter-final stage after a 4-0 aggregate defeat.
It brought swift condemnation from United, who said in a statement: “Manchester United utterly condemns racist social media comments posted around yesterday’s Champions League fixture.
“We are working to identify individuals involved and we will take the strongest possible action we can against them.
“There is no place for racism within our game, or in society as a whole, and we are committed to working to make football free from all forms of discrimination.”
Anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out called upon the social media platform to act following a series of incidents.
The organisation said via its own official Twitter account: “Yet another black player, this time Ashley Young, targeted with racist abuse on social media after tonight’s Champions League game.
“Again, we’re left asking @TwitterUK the same question – when will you take serious action to tackle the rampant discrimination on your platform?”
Twitter was swift to respond, confirming that the posts concerned had violated its abusive behaviour policy and that the account holders would be required to remove them before they could tweet again.
In addition, it will continue to monitor those accounts and to work with Kick It Out, whose intervention it welcomed.
A Twitter spokesperson said: “While we welcome people to express themselves freely on Twitter, we do not tolerate behaviour that crosses the line into abuse, hateful conduct or harassment. Abuse and harassment – no matter who the victim – have no place on Twitter.
“Our team uses proprietary-built internal technology to proactively find abusive content and provides users with a single report that they can email to the police.
“Our Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits the promotion of violence against – or threats of attack towards – people on the basis of certain categories such as race and ethnic origin. As per these policies, we take strong enforcement action if an incident violates our rules.”
Mohamed Salah, Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling, Michy Batshuayi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Moussa Sissoko have all received abuse over the same platform in recent years.
The Young incident came just days after MK Dons striker Chuks Aneke was targeted on Instagram following Saturday’s 2-1 League Two defeat at Tranmere, prompting the Merseyside club to call in police.
Concern is mounting over racism in football after a spate of attacks on players on both social media and in and around stadiums.
England’s black players were subjected to repeated chants during their Euro 2020 qualifier in Montengro last month, while Tottenham defender Danny Rose revealed recently he has “had enough” and “can’t wait” to quit the game.
Meanwhile, Juventus striker Moise Kean was targeted with monkey chants from the stands at Cagliari earlier this month.