Police launch hate crime investigation into online racial abuse of Wales footballers after Mexico match

  • Watch the report by ITV Wales Correspondent Richard Morgan

Police have launched an investigation into the racial abuse of two Wales footballers following their match against Mexico.

Rabbi Matondo and Ben Cabango received racial abuse on social media after their team's 1-0 victory at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday night.

Stoke loanee Matondo criticised the social media platform Instagram for a 'lack of action'.

In a Twitter post, he said: "And it continues... another week of @instagram doing absolutely nothing about racial abuse.

"My insta' will get taken down if I post any clips from my games though... #priorities."

South Wales Police said it is investigating the origin of the abuse, and that tackling hate crime is a priority.

Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd Williams of South Wales Police said: "Confronting hate crime is a challenge for everyone in south Wales – not just for the police – and we all have a responsibility to challenge prejudice and insist that our communities live up to the best standards of our traditions of tolerance and solidarity.

"South Wales Police has designated football liaison officers who work with clubs throughout the force area, including the Welsh FA, to help prevent and deter crime and anti-social behaviour.

"Tackling hate crime has always been a priority for South Wales Police – this behaviour is something that will not be tolerated in our community.

"The force takes hate crime seriously and we have worked closely with those involved in football to raise awareness of hate crime amongst players and supporters."

The Football Association of Wales said it is disgusted by the comments and has urged social media platforms to take "stronger, more effective and urgent action against this "despicable behaviour".

  • Thierry Henry discusses abuse of Matondo and Cabango after disabling his own social media accounts

The Wales pair join a growing list of black players who have been subjected to online abuse in recent weeks.

Manchester United quartet Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Fred have all been targeted, with the latter saying "we cannot feed that culture" after being racially abused last weekend.

Arsenal's former France forward Thierry Henry has described racism on social media as "too toxic to ignore" and disabled all of his accounts on Saturday following the recent instances on the platform.

The Football Association of Wales said it is "disgusted" by the racial abuse directed towards players.

"The FAW are in dialogue with South Wales Police to ensure this kind of abhorrent behaviour is reported and investigated," said a statement on Twitter.

"The FAW joins other national associations and clubs in urging social media platforms and regulatory authorities to take stronger, more effective and urgent action against this despicable behaviour."

Cabango's club, Swansea City, offered their "unequivocal" support to the defender.

Earlier this month, the UK's football policing lead Detective Chief Constable Mark Roberts said the response of social media companies in assisting the police to identify abusers has been "woeful".

At the time a spokesperson for Facebook, which also owns Instagram, said the company "will continue to work with the police and wider industry to collectively tackle this issue".

Swansea footballer Yan Dhanda received racist messages on social media platform last month. Credit: PA Images

Swansea City footballer, Yan Dhanda said the decision not to permanently ban his abuser from Instagram was "disgusting" after he received racist messages on the social media platform last month.

The British Asian attacking midfielder received racist abuse via Instagram following the Swans' FA Cup loss to Manchester City on Wednesday 10 February.

Facebook, the company that owns Instagram, temporarily blocked the account responsible from sending messages.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesman said, "We don't want this type of abuse on Instagram and have removed the accounts that sent these messages to Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo this weekend.

"We recently announced that we'll take tougher action when we become aware of people breaking our rules in DMs. This work is ongoing and we are committed to doing more.

"We also know these problems are bigger than us, so are working with the industry, government and others to collectively drive societal change through action and education".