The Met police have this morning announced a series of arrests after an investigation into online racist abuse of a footballer.

Twelve men from across the country have been arrested under suspicion of using words or behaviour, or displaying written material with intent to stir up racial hatred.

With fans not allowed in stadiums for the majority of this season, much of the attention has been on the abhorrent levels of abuse directed at players on social media.

With the release of the news this morning, Kick It Out CEO Tony Burnett said: “We are pleased to see these arrests being made, it sends a powerful message that online abuse is unacceptable and those found guilty will face real-life consequences.

Social media has become a vehicle for inappropriate behaviour on a societal level and certain people think it’s okay to send abusive messages.

We have to make sure we create an environment where online abuse is punished and that the perpetrators are identified as much as possible. These arrests demonstrate the police’s commitment to tackling online abuse and we hope this sends a message to others so they think twice before posting discriminatory abuse.

It’s also important that we remain focused on the welfare of those who play, watch and work in football, and receive abuse, and we will continue to offer our support to those who need it.”

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, National Police Chiefs’ Council Football Policing Lead, said: “This is an excellent example of the police service’s commitment to tackling the online abuse of footballers, in this case led and coordinated by the Metropolitan Police Service.

By taking action, it hopefully gets the message across to offenders that you cannot hide and increasingly we will see more arrests as forces, the UK Football Policing Unit and wider football bodies coordinate their efforts.

It should also reassure players that we take this incredibly seriously, and if they come forward we will support them, together with Kick it Out and the Professional Footballers' Association.”

If you have experienced or witnessed discrimination on social media, you can report it to us through our online reporting form or via our reporting app available on both iOS and Android. You should also make your local police force aware by filing a report here.

You can also report posts to the respective social media channels by using the following links: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok | Snapchat | YouTube