Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo: Police investigate racist abuse on social media

Rabbi Matondo joined Schalke from Manchester City for £9.6m in 2019
Rabbi Matondo joined Schalke from Manchester City for £9.6m in 2019

Police are investigating after Wales players Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo were racially abused on social media.

Cabango and Matondo, both 20, received abusive messages on Instagram after Wales' 1-0 win over Mexico on Saturday.

Matondo has criticised Instagram, while the Football Association of Wales says it is "disgusted by the racial abuse".

Facebook, which owns Instagram, says it has permanently removed the accounts from which the messages were sent and is "committed to doing more".

South Wales Police says it is "investigating the origin of racially motivated social media posts" aimed at Cabango and Matondo.

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

"We have built tools that mean public figures don't ever have to receive DMs [direct messages] from people they don't follow and 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."

The FAW said "racism and all forms of discriminatory behaviour are wholly unacceptable".

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

"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 desperate behaviour."

Matondo, who is on loan at Stoke City from German club Schalke, used his Twitter page to highlight the abuse he received.

"And it continues... another week of Instagram doing absolutely nothing about racial abuse," he wrote.

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

South Wales Police detective chief inspector Lloyd Williams said: "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."

Former Manchester City youngster Matondo made his eighth Wales appearance in the Mexico game, while Swansea City centre-back Cabango won his third senior cap.

The duo join a long list of footballers who have been racially abused on social media in recent months including Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Reece James and Cabango's Swansea team-mate Yan Dhanda.

Swansea urged social media companies to act following the Dhanda incident and they have reiterated their plea in a statement, calling for "more stringent safeguards and punishments in order to eradicate such appalling conduct".

Ben Cabango made his first start for Wales in the friendly win over Mexico
Ben Cabango made his first start for Wales in the friendly win over Mexico

"As a football club, we are appalled by this. No-one should have to endure this type of abuse," said Swansea chief executive Julian Winter.

"Ben is representing his country, he is a proud Welshman and it is a proud moment for he and his family.

"Sadly, instead of talking about football we are once again talking about this disgusting abuse that continues to tarnish the game and society.

"Social media companies now have to act. Words are no longer sufficient - they have to go above and beyond to impose suitable restrictions and combat such abhorrent levels of abuse."

Stoke said they find "racism and all forms of discriminatory behaviour completely unacceptable".

"There is no place in society for such abhorrent behaviour and we will assist in what ever way we can to bring the person who saw fit to abuse Rabbi to justice," a Potters spokesperson added.

Show Racism the Red Card Wales/Cymru backed calls for social media companies to help eliminate online abuse.

"Sadly, we're not shocked," it said on Twitter. "We are seeing this time and time again.

"We echo Rabbi's comments that social media companies need to step up, do more and clamp down on online abuse."

Last week Manchester United midfielder Fred said "we cannot feed that culture" of racism after he was racially abused on social media following his side's FA Cup quarter-final defeat by Leicester.