Manchester United have said they will take “the strongest possible action” against any supporter found to have sent Ashley Young racist abuse on social media following the Champions League defeat to Barcelona.
Young was subjected to a torrent of abusive messages on Twitter during and after the 3-0 defeat at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
Sources have told ESPN FC that the messages have been reported to Greater Manchester Police and to Twitter while the club will to do everything they can to weed out any fans discovered to be involved.
“Manchester united utterly condemns racist social media comments posted around yesterday’s Champions League fixtures,” a statement released on Wednesday read. “We are looking to identify individuals involved and we will take the strongest possible action we can against them.
“There is no place for racism within our game, or in society as a whole, and we are committed to working to make football free from all forms of discrimination.”
Young is the latest high-profile footballer to be subjected to racist abuse online after incidents involving Raheem Sterling and Troy Deeney.
It is not clear whether the individuals involved in abusing Young are United fans and a number of the club’s supporters spoke out to condemn the behaviour on Tuesday night. The incident comes just three days after United launched their All Red, All Equal campaign to encourage equality, diversity and inclusion.
In a statement issued by anti-discrimination Kick it Out, the organisation urged Twitter to take action.
It read: “Yet another black player, this time Ashley Young, is targeted with racist abuse on social media after tonight’s Champions League game.
“Again, we’re left asking Twitter the same question — when will you take serious action to tackle the rampant discrimination on your platform?”
A spokesperson for Twitter said: “We do not comment on individual cases for privacy reasons.
“Our abusive behaviour policy prohibits behaviour which attempts to harass, intimidate or silence another person’s voice and we take strong enforcement action if violations are found.
“Progress in this space is tough, but we are deeply committed to improving the health of the conversation on the platform. To this end, we are now suspending three times more abusive accounts within 24 hours after receiving a report than this time last year.
“We’ll continue building on this work to prioritise the safety of our users.”