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Campaigner calls for jail for football racists as another player highlights abuse

The Head of Development at leading equality and inclusion organisation has called for arrests to deal with the issue regarding racism and football.

A number of racism-related incidents have plagued English football in the last number of months.

England players were subject to racist chanting during the side's 5-1 win over Montenegro last month.

In December, a Tottenham fan was fined and banned from football for four years after throwing a banana skin at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

On Monday Lancashire Police said a 20-year-old man from Sheffield had been arrested after handing himself in at Blackpool Police Station following an abusive message sent to Wigan player Nathan Byrne on Twitter on Saturday.

There was also an arrest after Derby’s 3-3 draw at Brentford where Rams midfielder Duane Holmes was the victim of alleged abuse.

Tottenham and England defender Danny Rose admitted last weekend that he was looking forward to retirement as the punishment for racism in football is "a bit of a farce at the minute".

Troy Townsend of Kick It Out has called for the authorities to do more.

Speaking to TalkSport, he said: "Some of it has nothing to do with the game.

"Some of it is just downright offensive to the point that some of these people need to be arrested and locked up until they do understand the impact of what they’re saying.

"I applaud the players who are taking a stance and not just accepting it.

"Players have been let down for the longest period of time because of the actions within the game are not strong enough."

On Tuesday, Watford player Christian Kabasele shared pictures of racist messages he had received on social media.

Over the weekend, Kabasele's club captain Troy Deeney disabled comments on his Instagram page after reporting racial abuse following the Hornets’ FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the manager of League Two side Northampton Town - Keith Curle - has praised his players for the way they reacted to an incident of alleged racist abuse prior to Saturday’s draw at Notts County.

Kick It Out today called on social media companies to take action "to combat the abuse faced by footballers on their platforms".

The statement read: "We have long campaigned for social media companies to take swift and decisive action against people who use their platforms for hate speech.

"The latest incidents on Instagram and Twitter - with a number of players including Mohamed Salah, Nathan Byrne, Wilfried Zaha, Troy Deeney and Christian Kabasele all targeted with abuse - only strengthen our resolve to demonstrate the scale of the problem.

"Whatever policies or technology the companies have in place, they are clearly no deterrent for the racists and those who think it's OK to spout this kind of hate.

"We ask, again, for all social media companies to put a lot more resources into finding, reporting and excluding these people. We want to see these companies cooperate with the police to make sure offenders are punished for these criminal acts.

"Footballers, like anyone in society, are entitled to go about their work without being abused, intimidated or trolled."

- additional reporting by Press Association