Manchester United have banned six fans for abusing Tottenham's Son Heung-min and revealed online abuse aimed at their players has increased 350 per cent ahead of this weekend's widespread sporting social media boycott.
Chelsea also announced a decade-long ban to a supporter for anti-Semitic posts on Friday as social media accounts across English football and beyond prepared to shut down from 3pm until 11.59pm on Monday.
A coalition of football's largest governing bodies and organisations, including the Football Association, Premier League and EFL, were going silent on social media in a show of solidarity against sustained, sickening and spiralling abuse.
Since it was first announced, the boycott has grown as other sport governing bodies, sponsors, partners, broadcasters and media outlets have come on board.
European governing body UEFA will take part, as well as Scottish football, England Rugby, Scottish Rugby, British Cycling, the Rugby Football League, British Horseracing, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Lawn Tennis Association, International Tennis Federation and others.
Manchester United players have been frequent targets and the club's own in-depth review of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook has found 3300 abusive posts were aimed at their players between September 2019 to February 2021.
The club said 86 per cent of those posts were racist, with eight per cent homophobic or transphobic, and activity peaked in January 2021, when over 400 abusive player posts were recorded.
United say since September 2019 "there has been a 350 per cent increase in abuse directed towards the club's players", plus they are acting on the abuse of others.
The club said: "Manchester United has instigated club sanction proceedings against six individuals alleged to have breached club rules by abusing Tottenham's Heung-Min Son on social media following the match on 11 April.
"Regretfully, suspensions have been issued, subject to appeal, to three season ticket holders, two official members and one individual on the season ticket waiting list."
Chelsea also announced the ban of a supporter for posting anti-Semitic messages online.
The statement read: "Following the conclusion of court proceedings in February, the Club conducted our own investigation into the matter and has taken the decision to ban the individual from Chelsea FC for a period of 10 years.
"Everybody at Chelsea is proud to be part of a diverse club. Our players, staff, fans and visitors to the club come from a wide range of backgrounds, including the Jewish community, and we want to ensure everyone feels safe, valued and included.
"We will not tolerate any behaviour from supporters that threatens that aim."
Thierry Henry has called football's social media boycott this weekend a "start" in the fight against racism and discrimination.
Last month the Arsenal great removed himself from social media because of racism and bullying across the platforms.
"A lot of people are - I'm not saying waking up, because everyone was aware of it - but now they're loud about it and the same energy that they put with the Super League," Henry told CNN.
"It looks like we're getting brave into trying to make those big companies answer to the question that we have, and I know it's not easy also on their side, but that's your job."
Australian Associated Press