RIO FERDINAND has called on the government to intervene in the ‘disgusting situation’ of social media racism.
Manchester United star Marcus Rashford became the latest in a long line of footballers who have been targetted with sick racist abuse online on Saturday.
School meals hero Rashford, 23, revealed he was hit with a string of abusive slurs about his skin colour on Instagram following his side’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal.
Police are now investigating the incidents.
Rashford’s team-mates Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were abused on social media after their team lost at home to Sheffield United recently.
Now former Red Devil Ferdinand has called on the government to step in and help ‘regulate’ social media.
Speaking ahead of Wolves’ home tie against Arsenal, Ferdinand said: “The Premier League, the players who are coming out individually or in their clusters, have to take some credit for the steps they are taking to highlight this.
“But the government need to step in, it’s a serious issue, and they need to show how serious they are about this.
“We need the government to regulate this whole situation.
“Yes the social media companies have to play their part, morally they have to put their hands up and say ‘yes, how can we deal with this with the government’.
“There needs to be repercussions. People can come out and be derogatory, say racist comments and discriminate from behind a curtain, and remain anonymous.
“That is the problem, once someone thinks ‘actually I might be put out in front of the public and outed as a racist’ then you get a different temperature on this.
“You’re not stopping someone from being a racist, but you are stopping them vocalising it and giving it to people.
“The government need to put the right regulations in place to help with this situation, this disgusting situation we are in now.”
Ferdinand believes it is key this disgusting behaviour is targetted at the beginning and not by the time a player or celebrity has suffered.
And the 42-year-old believes government and social media companies have no excuse to sit back any longer.
He added: “I think the powers that be don’t see this as serious enough to deal with.
“Why is it taking people to step forward, that’s my problem. At the end of the day this needs to be sorted out as soon as we can.
“People are starting to make the right noises, but this could be dealt with so much quicker.
“We have got technology at our fingertips, with the help and force of the government behind it.
“Reactive is too late, somebody has been hit with it. Be proactive and stop it before it gets to that stage.”
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has written to every single Chelsea player for the first time ever vowing to put money towards ending racial abuse on social media.
Last week, Blues star Reece James, 21, revealed he had been subjected to sick racist abuse and demanded: ‘Something needs to change’.
And Arsenal legend Ian Wright was subjected a tirade of racist abuse from a teenager who felt the player had ‘let him down’ on a Playstation game.