Grant Ward: Police investigating after Blackpool winger receives racist abuse online

Blackpool said they are 'appalled by the abhorrent, racist abuse received by Grant Ward, offering him their 'full and unwavering support'; Lancashire Police say their investigations are "ongoing"

Grant Ward was the subject of racist abuse on Instagram on Tuesday night
Image: Grant Ward was subjected to racist abuse on Instagram on Tuesday night

Lancashire Police say their investigations are "ongoing" after Blackpool winger Grant Ward received racist abuse on Instagram following Tuesday's 1-0 win over Sunderland.

Former Tottenham trainee Ward was sent the abuse on social media just minutes after the final whistle at the Stadium of Light.

Grant took to Twitter on Wednesday to thank those who have supported him since the incident and called for more action to be taken to stop online abuse.

He said: "The account has been reported to Instagram and police are investigating. After all that's happened, people are still sending racist messages out online on fake accounts, something needs to be done."

Lancashire Police confirmed an investigation was underway to Sky Sports News on Wednesday.

The police statement read: "We are investigating after racist abuse was sent to a Blackpool FC footballer.

"Police were made aware of a message sent on social media following last night's match between Sunderland FC and Blackpool FC.

"Lancashire Police strongly condemns all forms of racism. The force takes hate crime very seriously and this behaviour will not be tolerated in our communities.

"We are committed to tackling all crime motivated by hate and prejudice and we would urge anyone who has been a victim of a hate crime to have the confidence to come forward and report it to police. Victims will always be dealt with professionally and sympathetically."

Blackpool condemned the abuse in a strongly worded statement and offered their "full and unwavering support" to Ward.

It read: "Blackpool Football Club is appalled by the abhorrent, racist abuse received by Grant Ward following the team's fixture at Sunderland last night.

"The contents of the message, on his Instagram account, have since been reported to the social media platform and are now being investigated by the police.

"Grant has the club's full and unwavering support in this matter, as we continue to collectively take a stand in the fight against racism and online hatred.

"Enough is enough."

Sunderland said in a statement posted on their official Twitter account: "We utterly condemn the vile abuse directed at Grant Ward following our match against Blackpool.

"We will work closely with the police and football authorities to ensure those responsible are identified and punished for this abhorrent and unacceptable behaviour. Enough is enough."

Instagram has told Sky Sports News they have "taken action" against the user who directed racist abuse at Ward.

They say if the person continues to send "violating messages" their account will be permanently disabled.

Last week, the social media giant announced that all accounts will soon have the ability to filter messages so that they never have to see abusive messages again.

A coalition of English football's largest governing bodies and organisations including the Football Association, Premier League and EFL have announced they will go silent on social media in a show of solidarity against racism and discrimination.

The FA Women's Super League, FA Women's Championship, Professional Footballers' Association, League Managers Association, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women in Football and the Football Supporters' Association will also suspend all use of their social media accounts from 3pm on Friday April 30 until 11.59pm on Monday May 3.

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Kick It Out reporting racism

Online Reporting Form | Kick It Out

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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