Prince William has vowed “enough is enough” as he plans to take on racist thugs who abuse footy players.
The Duke of Cambridge called an emergency meeting with figureheads and campaigners to devise plans on how a “multi agency partnership” can work together to stamp out sickening racism in football.
In his role as President of the Football Association, William urged the need for a “root and branch” assessment of how players and fans can deal with vile racists, after an explosion in “despicable” abuse aimed at the game’s biggest stars.
Aston Villa fanatic William believes more pressure needs to be put on the big tech giants to act instead of turning a blind eye.
William on Tuesday summoned Mark Bullingham, CEO of the FA, to discuss plans for an inquiry into the outbreak of racism in recent years, often through social media channels.
The Duke, who this week issued a powerful statement saying “we all have a responsibility” to stamp out racism, also spoke with Sanjay Bhandari, celebrated race campaigner and chairman of Kick It Out.
A source said: “There were constructive and passionate conversations with both men outlining their plans for the future on what needs to be done to root out the evil of abuse on and off the pitch.
“The Duke said he was absolutely outraged at the abuse, he said ‘enough is enough’ and promised to do all can in his role as President of the FA and beyond to stamp such vile behaviour out.
“William believes there needs to be more cohesion from the FA, the clubs and big tech companies to have as strong a stance as possible to end such hate.”
The future king issued a public rebuke of racists after Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford shamed thugs who taunted him online.
The 22-year-old, who was awarded an MBE recently for his tireless campaigning to eliminate food poverty for needy children, was bombarded with a string of racist messages on Instagram after his team’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal last Saturday.
The England striker tweeted: “I’m a black man and I live every day proud that I am. No-one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different.
“So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you’re just simply not going to get it here.”
Sources have revealed William is looking to speak to formulate his plans before the end of the current season.
William believes social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have succeeded in bringing people together, but have a great deal to learn about being responsible.
As part of his as part of The Royal Foundation’s task force on the prevention of cyber bullying William in 2016 brought together the world’s leading tech firms to develop an online code of conduct, called ‘Stop, Speak, Support’.
The first in the world of its kind it created a safer space online for children and give them online resources if they feel threatened or lost.
A source said: “The Duke wants to use his platform to bring these companies and campaign groups together to identify ways in which there is collective responsibility on the platforms to eradicate racism and hate speech.”
Kick It Out was established as a campaign with the brand name ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’ in 1993 and as an organisation in 1997.
The group last year launched the Take A Stand campaign, to encourage everyone to publicly pledge to be part of positive change.
After reports of discrimination rose 42 per cent last season, the charity fears the continuation of football being played behind closed doors will lead to another rise in online abuse as fans watch games from home.
Our source added: “Great strides have been made to educate people on the terraces but now the challenge is against the so called keyboard warriors.”
In the last week police have launched a series of investigations after attacks on black players.
West Brom striker Romaine Sawyers received a racist message during last week’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Southampton debutant Alex Jankewitz, 19, was also the subject of sickening abuse online after he was sent off in the second minute of his full debut for the club on Tuesday as they were thrashed 9-0 by Manchester United.
In a statement Southampton said: “The club will continue to fight every day to remove such people from our sport and our community in order to protect our players, our staff, Southampton fans and football supporters around the world who recognise and celebrate the diversity that makes football special.
William, president of the FA since 2006, on Sunday posted a personal message on the Kensington Palace Twitter page, saying: “Racist abuse – whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media – is despicable and it must stop now.
“We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate and division are held accountable for their actions. That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place.
“I commend all those players, supporters, clubs and organisations who continue to call out and condemn this abuse in the strongest terms.”
-- to www.mirror.co.uk