Southampton slam social media platforms for 'allowing hatred to breed' after Kyle Walker-Peters receives racist abuse following Man Utd draw

Kyle Walker-Peters, Southampton, 2022-23
Southampton have issued a strong response to the racial abuse aimed at Kyle Walker-Peters online following the team's draw with Manchester United.

Southampton issued a statement on Monday after Walker-Peters was subjected to racist abuse on social media.

The 25-year-old posted on Instagram a week before the Saints' 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, and a racist term was used in the comments section in response to a remark about Alejandro Garnacho.

The United teenager had to be substituted after going down under a challenge from Walker-Peters late in the game. Garnacho was later photographed by journalist Mark Critchley using crutches and sporting a protective boot on his right foot.

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Southampton have passed on the offensive messages to police while calling out social media companies for failing to protect players online.

The club took similar steps in February 2021 after midfielder Alex Jankewitz was the victim of racial abuse.

"In February 2021 the club made a statement about one of our young players receiving abhorrent racial abuse following a match against Manchester United," Southampton's official statement reads.

"More than two years on, we find ourselves in the exact same position: disgusted and disappointed in the behaviour of those online who lower themselves to abusing players for the colour of their skin.

"What is equally frustrating is the lack of meaningful action in those two years from the social media platforms who allow such hatred to breed and fester.

"As we have said before, Southampton Football Club fights every day to remove such people from our sport and our community in order to protect our players, our staff, Southampton fans and those football supporters around the world who recognise and celebrate the diversity that makes football special.

"We have forwarded the messages concerned to Hampshire Police in keeping with our normal processes when dealing with these cases.

"We have also reported these posts to the social media platforms involved.

"We can only hope that they finally pay attention to what continues to be a major problem and that we do not find ourselves repeating these words in another two years' time."

The English Football Association have added in a separate statement: "We strongly condemn the racist online abuse that continues to be directed towards players across our game.

"We urge social media companies and authorities to take the strongest possible action and we will not stop challenging this issue until tangible changes are made."