Sterling, Walker face racial abuse online after Man City's UCL final loss
Photo: The National

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker were subjected to racial abuse on social media accounts after the English club lost to Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final on Sunday.

The club lost 1-0 to the Blues in Porto, Portugal. The Blues were just a tad better to outfox City, courtesy of German midfielder Kai Havertz’s strike. Since then, a series of racial slurs have been launched towards the City duo.

A few fans reportedly sent monkey emojis in the DMs to the pair on Instagram. This is to be noted that Sterling has been abused on social media a number of times. Despite condemnations from the football community, footballers with African roots have been consistently facing abuse.

Sterling also went through a similar ordeal when Pep Guardiola’s men won the Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain in early May.

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Although, Facebook, which owns Instagram, has acknowledged the happening. In an interview with Sky Sports News, a Facebook company spox said: “The racist abuse sent to these players last night is abhorrent and we don’t want it on Instagram.”

“We swiftly removed a number of comments and accounts for breaking our rules and we’re continuing to review and take action against those that violate our policies. We have built safety features, including Comment Filters and Message Controls, which can meaningfully decrease the abuse people experience.

“No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we’re committed to doing what we can to keep our community safe from abuse.”

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The incident was reported only a couple of days after the sporting community participated in a weekend-long social media boycott to protest against rising levels of racial discrimination. Several broadcasters, clubs, teams and players came off their platforms to voice for the victims.

After Man City won the Carabao Cup final win against Tottenham Hotspur in April, Kyle Walker revealed the barrage of racist attacks he faced.

The England international shared a message on his Instagram story which featured racist abuse. He tagged the platform on his post and wrote “When is this going to stop?”

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English footballers have had a history of such events. Sterling’s England teammate and Manchester United striker, Marcus Rashford, has been abused on social media on multiple occasions.

He was most recently thrown racial slurs at after United lost the Europa League final to Villareal on penalties.

“At least 70 racial slurs on my social accounts counted so far. For those working to make me feel any worse than I already do, good luck trying,” the 23-year-old had tweeted.

In February, many English football bodies urged Facebook and Twitter to up their blocking and swift takedowns on offensive posts. In the open letter, the organisations asked for an improved verification process for users as well.

Instagram has announced fresh measures to deal with the trolls and abuse, meanwhile, Twitter has vowed to continue its efforts in the cause.

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