Manchester City, Norwich and Brighton are the only Premier League clubs to have accepted an invitation to work with police in an attempt to end racism online, according to the Guardian.
In July, Police Chief Mark Roberts, who is the head of football for the National Council of Chiefs of Police, wrote to 92 clubs in the league pyramid urging them to work with force to resolve the issue.
The move came after increased incidents of racist abuse suffered by players in recent seasons. After England lost the Euro 2020 final via a penalty shootout to Italy in July, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, all of whom failed their attempts, were the targets of racist insults via social media platforms.
Still, of the 92 clubs Roberts contacted, only 49 responded positively, including only three from the elite – City, Norwich and Brighton.
“Only 49 have returned with a positive response saying they wish to enlist. So far only eight clubs have made it easier for us to obtain officers, PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association] and run it [anti-discrimination body] to talk to the players, ”Roberts told Sky News.
“We hear all the slogans, we hear all the commitment. But when we try to take positive measures to support the players, support the clubs, sometimes we need a little more than words. “
Roberts is disappointed that clubs that did not respond in the affirmative are unwilling to be more proactive in helping their players and other staff who may be affected. “If people know in advance the options and the support available to them, then there is a better chance that they will know what to do and take positive action,” he said.
Roberts is aware that social media companies have expedited their response to any evidence provided to police. Last year the process could have taken about six months; now it’s been a few days.
Roberts said: “We want to do this [end the abuse] but I think this is one of those examples where everyone says they’re engaged, says they want to tackle it, but then we give opportunities [and] it does not happen. [It’s] a really disappointing turnout, and I think, frankly, the numbers speak for themselves. “
The Premier League have said they want their other 17 clubs to accept Roberts’ invitation.
“The Premier League is taking action against online abuse,” a spokesperson said. “Since 2019, we have been proactively monitoring social media platforms for any abuse targeting Premier League players, and have reported thousands of incidents to social media companies since.
“We also support players, managers and their families through our online abuse reporting system, working closely with the relevant law enforcement authorities throughout this process. “