EPL: Prince William calls out racial abuse after Marcus Rashford cops social media tirade

Prince William has called for racist abuse aimed at footballers to stop, after Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford became the latest player targeted.

United are working with social media companies to stamp out the abuse and identify offenders, after Rashford was abused following Saturday's 0-0 draw at Arsenal in the English Premier League.

"Racist abuse - whether on the pitch, in the stands or on social media - is despicable and it must stop now," says the Duke of Cambridge, who is also the Football Association president.

"We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate and division are held accountable for their actions.

"That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place."

England international Rashford took to Twitter to call out the abuse, but did not take screenshots of the messages he received, saying it would be irresponsible to do so.

"Humanity and social media at its worst," he tweets. "Yes, I'm a Black man and I live every day proud that I am.

"No-one - or no one comment - is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you're just simply not going to get it here."

Abuse condemned

English soccer's governing Football Association earlier condemned the racial abuse of players, after United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial, West Bromwich Albion's Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea's Reece James were targeted this week.

United director of communications Charlie Brooks says the club has held talks with social media companies.

"The reality is, if they are not able to be identified on social media, it's very hard to trace them," Brooks tells Sky News.

"Really, the onus has to be on the social media companies to do something about that. We need to see verifiable, identifiable accounts."

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) says it is aware of the incidents, and have investigated to find the culprits and offer support to United players.

"Nobody should be subject to such abuse and it is deeply upsetting, not only to those who suffer it, but to all those who come across this awful language too," GMP says.

"These hateful words have no place anywhere in our society whether online or otherwise."

West Midlands Police say they have arrested a 49-year-old man relating to the abuse of Sawyers.