By Ian Parker
Manchester United have condemned racial abuse which was aimed at midfielder Paul Pogba on social media after his missed penalty in the 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday night.
Pogba saw his 68th-minute spot-kick saved by Rui Patricio as United dropped points in the Premier League.
In a statement, United said: “Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse aimed at Paul Pogba last night and we utterly condemn it.”
United defender Harry Maguire wrote on Twitter: “Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it... Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people.”
Pogba became the third footballer in England to suffer such abuse in the space of a week following a missed spot-kick, with racist abuse also directed at Reading’s Yakou Meite and Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham in recent days.
Other fans were quick to condemn some of the posts seen on Monday night, many of which were subsequently deleted.
United’s statement continued: “The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club and it is encouraging to see the vast majority of our fans condemn this on social media also.
“Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our #AllRedAllEqual initiative.
Pogba’s teammate Marcus Rashford also took to Twitter, saying: “Enough now, this needs to stop @Twitter”.
Rashford added in a second tweet: “Manchester United is a family. @paulpogba is a huge part of that family. You attack him you attack us all...”
Anti-discrimination campaign group Kick It Out said the number of players targeted in recent days highlighted the need for further action.
A statement said: “The latest round of fixtures have again seen unwarranted and vile racist abuse sent to players. This time, Reading’s Yakou Meite and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.
“The number of posts such as these since the start of the season further highlights how discriminatory abuse online is out of control. Without immediate and the strongest possible action these cowardly acts will continue to grow.”
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In a statement, Twitter confirmed it had taken direct action to permanently suspend “a series of accounts” following the abuse.
The social media company also stressed it would continue to lead the fight against discrimination.
“We’re fully aware of and share the concerns surrounding online racist abuse towards certain footballers in the UK over recent days. We strongly condemn this unacceptable behaviour, and have now permanently suspended a series of accounts for violating our Hateful Conduct Policy,” the statement read.
“We’re proactively monitoring the conversation online and will continue taking robust action on any account which violates our rules.
“This is a societal issue and requires a societal response. This is why we maintain a dialogue with both the PFA and Kick It Out and are committed to working together to address abusive online and racist behaviour across the industry. We continue to liaise closely with our partners to identify meaningful solutions to this unacceptable behaviour — both offline and on.”