(Reuters) – Manchester City players Rahim Sterling and Kyle Walker faced racist messages on Instagram following the team’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the Champions League final on Saturday, and the social media company reported accounts of objectionable users removed.
Sky Sports reported that the two received a series of monkey emojis on their Instagram profiles after the game.
Sterling was also targeted after City’s semifinal win over Paris Saint Germain.
“Representative of the racial abuse suffered by these players last night is disgusting and we don’t want it on Instagram,” a representative of Facebook, the owner of Instagram, said in a statement on Sunday.
“We immediately deleted a series of comments and accounts to break our rules and will continue to review and take action against those who violate our policies.”
“Nothing will solve this challenge overnight, but we are committed to doing what we can to protect our community from abuse,” he said.
Several Premier League club players have been targets of similar attacks in recent months, including Manchester United’s Anthony Marshall, Liverpool’s Trent-Alexander Arnold and Liverpool’s Mano and Chelsea’s Reece James.
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford said he suffered “at least 70 racial profanities” on social media following his defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final last Wednesday.
In February, English football agencies sent an open letter to Facebook and Twitter demanding a more energetic approach to remove objectionable publications as well as improve the process of verifying users.
Instagram announced the move and Twitter took action on more than 700 cases of football-related misconduct in the UK in 2019.
(Reporting by Srivatsa Sridhar in Bengaluru)
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