The Police in England have asked the Premier League and English Football League to enhance cooperation with officers to ensure that racist abuse is stamped out of the round leather game.
It can be recalled that some players have been victims of such abuse on social media in recent weeks including Manchester United stars like Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, and Marcus Rashford.
The suggestion was contained in a letter written by Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts to the Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and English Football League chairman Rick Parry in January. However, the replies came this week according to the BBC.
Roberts leads on football for the National Police Chiefs’ Council and fears that there may be a rise in hate crimes when fans return to stadiums as the coronavirus lockdown is eased.
There are indications that supporters could be back in English stadiums in May and this will be preceded by potential pilot events.
“Before the lockdown we were already seeing a rise,” Roberts told the BBC.
“So the plea to the leagues and the clubs is while we have got this short hiatus, where we don’t have fans in the stadium, let’s be ready.”
Roberts thinks that leagues should make a provision for weekly updates of racist abuse and disorder to the UK Footballing Policing Unit and a member of the unit be made available as a point of contact for clubs on matchdays.
According to Roberts, officers had been frustrated when they tackled claims made by footballers regarding racial abuse on social media.
“We have had experiences where a force has been making real attempts to try to get to a player and they’ve hit this wall at a club,” he said.
“And publicly the player is saying: ‘Where are the police, why are they not making contact?’.”
He also had some words for the social media giants as he noted the frustrations that arise due to their delayed responses to police requests for information.