Manchester United duo subjected to racial abuse after loss to Sheffield United

Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe were racially abused on social media and after Manchester United lost to Sheffield United on Wednesday night.

United forward Martial played the full match at Old Trafford, while centre-back Tuanzebe was substituted in the 83rd minute of the 2-1 defeat after starting his first Premier League game of the season.

After the game, abuse was aimed at the players’ Instagram accounts. A number of users posted racist comments and symbols on old photos. Tuanzebe was also targeted on Twitter.

On Thursday morning, Manchester United said they were “disgusted” by the abuse and hope the “anonymous mindless idiots” are identified, while players including captain Harry Maguire and forward Marcus Rashford tweeted their support for Martial and Tuanzebe.

“Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse received by players via social media after last night’s game,” a club statement read.

“We utterly condemn it and it is encouraging to see other fans condemn this on social media also.

“Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our All Red All Equal initiative.

“Identifying these anonymous mindless idiots remains problematic. We urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour.”

Anti-racism group Kick It Out, also condemned the abuse and said they will continue to work with social media companies and the relevant authorities to hold those responsible to account.

Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari said: “We are disappointed that players are continuing to be subject to racist abuse on their social platforms, it is completely unacceptable.

“We will continue to work with the football authorities, law enforcement and social media companies to try and rid football of hateful and discriminatory behaviour.

“As we have said before, online hate must have real-life consequences, so people don’t continue to spread hate as freely as they wish. The individuals responsible for this abuse will hopefully be identified by the social media platforms and swiftly removed.

“We know that discriminatory abuse can have a significant real-world impact on the welfare of the victims. We encourage the players to get such support from their club in the first instance, and support is also available from the PFA and Kick It Out.”

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