A former Chelsea player has voiced his support for the government’s decision to hold social media platforms accountable for racial abuse towards footballers.
Bernard Kosia, who played as an attacking midfielder, said: “We all believe in equality, but nowadays we are seeing more racism directed at players”.
Racism within football stems from the mistreatment of players due to the colour of their skin or their ethnicity.
Those who are targeted are usually victims of team rivalry, although there have been instances where abuse has also come from fans.
This abuse can be traced back to as early as the 1930s, and is now being amplified online by trolls using social media.
The decision to impose sanctions could result in potential fines for social media organisations who do not actively work to address racism on their platforms.
Speaking on the decision, Mr Kosia said: “I am encouraged by the government’s plan to tackle racist abuse and I think it will work, to an extent”
The former footballer who played for Chelsea for 9 years, said: “I do believe social media platforms deserve the possibility of getting fined if they don’t act.
“The government tackling this by fining social media companies who allow racial abuse on their platforms will make them more willing to fight it”.
The 20-year-old expressed his disappointment at a section of football fans saying: “These comments are being thrown out, not even just towards footballers, but anyone who is black or of colour”.
“Fining social media companies should make life a little easier for players”.
Talking about the effects of racist abuse, Bernard said: “When we see these comments, it affects us deeply.
“We need to take action before these comments can be seen”.
A number of players have taken to social media platforms like Twitter, to also express their opinions on racism within football.
The Premier League have also taken action, launching the ‘No Room for Racism’ initiative in an attempt to tackle the situation, and players have also taken the knee during matches, inspired by the recent Black Lives Matter protests.
Mr Kosia, who personally experienced racial abuse whilst in Dortmund, in Germany, spoke on the affects it has had on him in real life, as well as social media.
He stated: “Playing in somewhere like Germany, where even the referees participate in this type of behaviour, it doesn’t work in our favour in any way.
“What happened to me in Dortmund, it did affect my playing, in the end I didn’t even want to play anymore”.
Commenting on this Mr Kosia said: “It [racial abuse] stains you, it does stay with you for your lifetime.
“We need to make a difference to this by fighting this together.
“But with the mentality I have, I believe we are better than racism. It can be beaten”.