Abramovich pens letter to Chelsea players after racist trolls target Reece James

Roman Abramovich has written to every Chelsea player to express his disgust at the racist abuse aimed at defender Reece James.

The Russian billionaire has also pledged funding for the club’s fight against racism.

The move is a rare one from Abramovich who rarely speaks publicly and is seldom quoted.

He said: “I am appalled by the racist abuse targeted at Reece on social media.

“Racism has no place in our club nor in our society. Our club is committed to fighting racism, antisemitism and all forms of discrimination.”

James was abused on social media on Friday. The right-back, 21, posted images of the messages he had received via Instagram, with the caption ‘something needs to change’.

Chelsea star Reece James was targeted by online trolls

Chelsea responded by issuing a statement expressing their ‘disgust’ and condemning those involved.

In his letter to the players, Abramovich added: “We cannot allow this to continue unchecked. I have therefore directed the board to further increase the club’s efforts in this area and I will personally direct more funds towards this important work.

“We will be setting out our actions as a club in the coming days.

“I want Chelsea Football Club to do more to challenge discrimination at our club, in our communities and in the world around us.

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“Rest assured we will play a leading role in this vital work and demonstrate that football is a sport open to all.”

James has sadly not been the only player to be subjected to vile racist abuse over social media.

Man Utd stars Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe were both targeted by trolls after their defeat to Sheffield Utd last week, while Marcus Rashford was on the receiving end after Saturday’s draw with Arsenal.

Roman Abramovich has pledged funding to challenge discrimination
Roman Abramovich has pledged funding to challenge discrimination

Prince William, who is president of the Football Association, wrote on Twitter : “Racist abuse – whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media – is despicable and it must stop now.

“We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate and division are held accountable for their actions. That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place.

“I commend all those players, supporters, clubs and organisations who continue to call out and condemn this abuse in the strongest terms.”

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