Yan Dhanda backed by Swansea boss Steve Cooper after 'disgusting' racist abuse on social media

Yan Dhanda was racially abused on social media following Swansea's loss to Manchester City this week; Facebook has opted not to remove the account from which the abuse was sent; Swans boss Cooper called the abuse "disgusting" and says the entire club supports Dhanda

Yan Dhanda (PA)
Image: Yan Dhanda started in Swansea's home FA Cup tie against Manchester City on Wednesday - the Premier League side won 3-1

Swansea manager Steve Cooper is angry with the disgusting online racist abuse received by Yan Dhanda amid concerns Facebook's actions are not strong enough.

Facebook said the person who racially abused Dhanda following Swansea's midweek FA Cup loss to Manchester City will only be temporarily blocked from sending Instagram messages and will not have their account shut down, adding "we think it's important people have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes".

South Wales Police are continuing to investigate the abuse, with the support of both clubs.

Dhanda, whose father hails from the state of Punjab in northern India, told Sky Sports News on Friday it is important these matters are dealt with in an appropriate way - a day after football's leaders sent an open letter to social media companies calling on them to do more to stamp out abuse following a spate of recent incidents.

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Bryan Swanson explains why Facebook have suspended, rather than banned, the account from which racist abuse was sent to Swansea midfielder Yan Dhanda

Cooper told Swansea's website: "I've spent the last couple of days talking with Yan, making sure he is OK and making sure he knows he has the full support of everybody at the football club

"The level of abuse he received was disgusting and I cannot put into words how angry I am that one of my players has suffered at the hands of somebody who thinks that racism is acceptable.

Steve Cooper (PA)
Image: Steve Cooper says everybody at Swansea stands "shoulder to shoulder" with Dhanda

"What people don't see is the aftermath of how people are affected. Yan was visibly upset and angry but it goes beyond that. His family are affected, those closest to him are hurt and the ripples go far wider than just a media headline.

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"Yan and I have spoken several times about his heritage, and the pride he feels in representing his community is evident in everything he says and does. To that extent, he is a superb role model and someone who takes that responsibility seriously.

"Everybody at the club stands shoulder to shoulder with Yan against racism or any form of discrimination. It has been really tough for him but his strength of character will stand him in good stead."

The full statement issued by a company spokesman representing Facebook - which also owns Instagram - following the abuse received by Dhanda read: "We do not want racism and hate on our platforms.

"The person who sent this message has been restricted from sending messages for a set period of time, and we will remove new accounts created to get around this restriction.

"We think it's important people have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes but, per the new measures put in place this week, if they continue to break our rules this account will be removed."

Dhanda Abuse must be dealt with the right way

Yan Dhanda told Sky Sports News on Friday that he was grateful for messages of support from "across the football community" after he was subjected to racist abuse online.

Swansea City's Yan Dhanda sports a protective mask during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea. Picture date: Saturday January 23, 2021 2:40
Yan Dhanda says he is grateful for all the messages of support after he became the latest high-profile footballer to be subjected to racist abuse on social media

The Swansea attacking midfielder, who is one of Britain's highest-profile South Asian footballers, said: "I'm grateful for all of the messages of support I have received from across the football community and beyond.

"It is so important these matters are dealt with in an appropriate way. Equally, it is so important we continue to educate and highlight success stories from all communities in the game."

Dhanda added on Twitter: "How can this STILL be happening in 2021? I'm so proud of who I am and representing Asians. More has to be done!"

'Vile racist abuse has no place in football'

In an exclusive statement to Sky Sports News, British-Punjabi Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall Virendra Sharma condemned the online abuse directed at former England youth international Dhanda.

"The vile racist abuse Yan Dhanda received has no place in football or any other sport. It brings shame on the UK that this is tolerated anywhere," he told Sky Sports News.

"It is for clubs and social media to have a complete no tolerance policy.

"I want to see social media bosses go further to stamp it out and make sure that their platforms are a tolerant place, not a breeding ground for racism and hate."

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Mansfield Town defender Mal Benning says he was 'very surprised' to see Swansea's Yan Dhanda receive racist abuse

Benning "taken aback" by Dhanda abuse

Mansfield Town defender Mal Benning said he was taken aback by the abuse received by fellow British-Punjabi footballer Dhanda.

Dhanda was the target of racist abuse following Swansea's 3-1 defeat to Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup - the latest in a long list of recent incidents of footballers receiving abuse on social media.

Manchester United's Axel Tuanzebe, Manchester United Women's Lauren James, and Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger and Reece James are among the players who have been racially abused on social media in recent weeks.

Benning himself was the subject of racist abuse on Twitter in January of last year,

He told Sky Sports News: "Obviously I've seen recently that Tuanzebe and (Marcus) Rashford have been abused, and it's even been happening in the women's game.

"But then when I saw that Yan Dhanda had been abused, I was quite taken aback by it. They (Swansea) were playing on a big platform against Manchester City in the FA Cup and there aren't many South Asians in the game.

"I've reached out to Yan and he's alright. There aren't many of us South Asians in the game and I don't want it to discourage any young South Asians from getting into the game because they think that's what it's like.

"It's obviously a small minority but also it's quite disgusting to see it happen as well and everyone wants to see it stamped out as soon as possible."

Kick It Out reporting racism

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Kick It Out is football's equality and inclusion organisation - working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change. www.kickitout.org/

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