Joint statement from Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City: "We stand shoulder to shoulder in saying there is no room for racism, hate or any form of discrimination in our beautiful game. It should not happen and it must stop"
Saturday 6 February 2021 11:18, UK
Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United have issued a joint statement condemning the racist abuse endured by multiple professional footballers in recent weeks and months.
The four clubs joined the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, plus Greater Manchester Police and Merseyside Police, in coming together to support Hate Crime Awareness Week.
"This weekend the four Premier League clubs of Manchester and Liverpool play each other in our two city-regions," the statement read.
"Today Manchester United, Everton, Manchester City and Liverpool have come together to support Hate Crime Awareness Week in Greater Manchester.
"Our four great North West clubs are united with the Mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region, and both Greater Manchester Police and Merseyside Police. We condemn the racist abuse that too many players, officials and supporters continue to encounter, most recently on social media platforms.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder in saying there is no room for racism, hate or any form of discrimination in our beautiful game. It should not happen and it must stop."
Manchester United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were targeted with racist abuse on social media following a recent 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United, with Marcus Rashford revealing abuse he received after the following fixture, a goalless draw with Arsenal.
Southampton's teenage debutant Alex Jankewitz was then abused after his early red card in the 9-0 defeat to United at Old Trafford.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Burnham called on social media companies to "step up" and hold themselves accountable if and when racist abuse is reported on their platforms.
Burnham says the aim of Hate Crime Awareness Week is to create a climate where hate speech is routinely called out and punished accordingly, but reiterated the role social media companies play in identifying culprits.
"It's crucial given what happened last week with players receiving abuse online, we've seen it often this season. It's time for a clear statement, to see the four great Premier League clubs from the Liverpool and Greater Manchester area make this statement is very powerful, it will get heard and respected from a vast majority of people," he told Sky Sports News.
"I'm hoping it creates a climate around the regions in all of our football grounds where hate, discrimination, any form of abuse or racism is simply not acceptable. Football helps us make great strides, it's often led the way when it has come to tackling racism.
"I want to see social media companies step up, I think they are lagging behind. It's 20 since laws were changed at football grounds, space was taken away from racists. If people made racist comments firm action could be taken.
"Social media companies are dragging their feet and saying it is also too difficult. They should be held accountable, they need, in my view, people's identity details to be attached to accounts."
Social media companies have reiterated their commitments to eradicating online hate and earlier this month Instagram's owner Facebook removed a user who racially abused Brentford forward Ivan Toney.
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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.