REUTERS: Britain's Prince William on Sunday called for racist abuse aimed at footballers to stop after Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford became the latest player to be targeted.
United are working with social media companies to stamp out the abuse and identify offenders after Rashford was abused following Saturday's 0-0 draw at Arsenal in the Premier League.
"Racist abuse - whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media - is despicable and it must stop now," the Duke of Cambridge, who is also the FA president, said in a statement.
"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."
England international Rashford took to Twitter to call out the abuse but did not take screenshots of the multiple messages he received as he said it would be irresponsible to do so.
"Humanity and social media at its worst. Yes I'm a Black man and I live every day proud that I am. No one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different," Rashford wrote on Twitter late on Saturday.
"So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you're just simply not going to get it here."
English soccer's governing Football Association earlier condemned the racial abuse of players after United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial, West Bromwich Albion's Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea's Reece James were targeted this week.
United director of communications Charlie Brooks said the club have held talks with social media companies.
"The reality is if they are not able to be identified on social media, it's very hard to trace them," Brooks told Sky News.
"Really the onus has to be on the social media companies to do something about that. We need to see verifiable, identifiable accounts."
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said they were aware of the incidents and were investigating to find the culprits and offer support to United players.
"Nobody should be subject to such abuse and it is deeply upsetting not only to those who suffer it, but to all those who come across this awful language too," GMP said in a statement.
"These hateful words have no place anywhere in our society whether online or otherwise."
West Midlands Police on Friday said they had arrested a 49-year-old man relating to the abuse of Sawyers.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru and Martyn Herman in London; Editing by William Mallard/Pritha Sarkar/Ken Ferris)