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MANCHESTER UNITED players are standing up alongside Paul Pogba after the midfielder was racially abused on social media following his penalty miss in Monday night’s 1-1 draw.
Pogba, who saw his 68th-minute spot-kick saved by Rui Patricio as United dropped points in the Premier League, 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.
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.
“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.
“We will work to identify the few involved in these incidents and take the strongest course of action available to us. We also encourage social media companies to take action in these cases.”
Marcus Rashford, who played down any notion of a falling out between himself and Pogba over who should step up to take the penalty, was quick to condemn the abuse which came his teammate’s way.
“Manchester United is a family,” Rashford wrote on Twitter. “@paulpogba is a huge part of that family. You attack him you attack us all…”
United’s England defender Harry Maguire reacted by posting 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.”
Anti-discrimination campaign group Kick It Out echoed that view in its own statement.
“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,” it said.
“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.
“As always, we have contacted the respective clubs to offer support to those affected.”
Defender Chris Smalling simply tweeted “#united” in response to Rashford’s tweet, with Jesse Lingard later adding: Completely agree! This can’t carry on. We’re all with you @paulpogba!”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott tweeted: “The abuse of Paul Pogba is a disgrace. No place for this vile racism and social media should act swiftly to take it down (that means you, @Twitter).”
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