Prince William condemns 'despicable' racism aimed at footballers

Prince William has branded the online racist abuse aimed at Black footballers "despicable" and urged social media platforms to take more responsibility.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford became the latest player to receive racist messages on social media after the 0-0 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.

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Rashford's teammates Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe were also racially abused last week while Chelsea's Reece James and West Bromwich Albion's Romaine Sawyer were also targeted online.

The Duke of Cambridge condemned the racist messages and praised the players for speaking out.

"Racist abuse -- whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media -- is despicable and it must stop now," he wrote on Twitter.

"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."

West Midland Police announced that a 49-year-old man was arrested in connection with the Sawyer incident while Greater Manchester Police said an investigation has begun regarding the messages sent to the United players.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer condemned the abuse sent to players while Instagram released a statement saying they are continuing to investigate after removing the accounts of the offenders.

Government ministers met top English players last Monday to discuss online abuse and discrimination as part of a series of "Future of Football" discussions.