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Men's Football Players Union to take racial abuse evidence to the government

THE Professional Footballers Association (PFA) will collate evidence of racist abuse suffered by players to demonstrate the severity of the issue to government and social networks.

Following last Friday’s 24-hour social media boycott by professional footballers, the PFA want continued player support and have set up an email address to allow union members to report racism.

The PFA are preparing to take their anti-racism message to Sports Minister Mims Davies and social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and are in the process of arranging meetings for next month.

According to the PFA, more than 90 million people were reached by the first stage of the #Enough campaign, with David Beckham, Eden Hazard and Dele Alli among those joining last week’s social media boycott.

PFA head of equalities Simone Pound said in a statement: “Players, fans and other organisations all joined together to use their platforms in a really powerful way to highlight that racist language and discrimination of all kinds is unacceptable in football and society.

“Now that we have made such an impact, we have to follow that up with empowered action. That’s why we’re asking members to share any evidence of racist abuse they’ve received with us.

“We will collate everything we receive together and share that at our meetings with government and social networks.

“The response we receive at those meetings will determine the next steps of the campaign, but we will continue to update our members of campaign progress publicly.”

The PFA were already scheduled to attend a meeting in May with the Sports Minister at Wembley, alongside the Football Association, campaign group Kick It Out and other football bodies.

The union are in the process of confirming a meeting date with Facebook, who contacted the PFA following last Friday’s campaign activity, while a meeting with Twitter has been requested.

Rangers captain James Tavernier took part in the PFA boycott and revealed yesterday that he had been targeted by racist abuse, sharing an image of the offensive message on Instagram.

This came around the same time the Italian FA vowed to do “everything in our power” to wipe out racism in football after another incident.

Lazio’s Italian Cup semi-final victory at AC Milan was overshadowed by continued racist abuse directed at Milan players Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie, who are black, before and during the match on Wednesday. Inflatable bananas were also visible in the away section.

The Lega Serie A said in a statement that it “firmly condemns the racist episodes which have happened these past few days. The sport should bring out respect, inclusion and being together in harmony: values that are at the base of the social initiatives that have always been promoted by the Lega Serie A.

“It is not acceptable that we have to hear verbal, intolerant abuse in our stadiums and, as we have done before … we will do everything in our power to oppose similar incidents. We also hope for the maximum collaboration from the police to help identify and punish those responsible who with their actions tarnish the image of our world.”

The latest incident came less than a month after Juventus teenager Moise Kean was racially abused at Cagliari — and partially blamed by his teammate and manager.

Lazio also condemned what happened on Wednesday.

“Lazio clearly distances itself from behaviour and displays that do not in any way correspond to the values of sport that this club has promoted and supported for 119 years,” the club said. “And it rejects and contests the simplistic tendency of some parts of the media to consider the entire Lazio fanbase responsible for the actions of a few isolated elements, for motivation that has nothing to do with passion for sport.

“The club has always fought for the respect of the law and for decency in behaviour.”

There were two announcements over the speaker system at San Siro warning the fans to stop or the match would be suspended.

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