We have been told by our Welsh Government that steps will be taken to tackle institutional racism. However 2022 has begun badly for racism in the world of Welsh football.

The first notable update is that police are investigating online racist abuse directed at Welsh squad defender Ben Cabango, as well as Welsh winger Rabbi Matondo, and have arrested a man in his 20s.

The incidents occurred on Instagram, where the two players were targets of racial abuse after Wales' friendly against Mexico in March of last year.

Matondo, at the time, used Twitter to talk about the abuse, and was critical of Instagram for "doing absolutely nothing" to combat racism.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, put out a statement saying they had "removed the accounts that sent messages" to the two players.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it was "disgusted by the racial abuse" and was working with police "to ensure this kind of abhorrent behavior is reported and investigated".

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People often assume that this sort of abuse is reserved for players on the international stage, however this is far from true.

This weekend saw yet another incident of racism, this time on the pitch.

A football match between the two north Walian teams of Llanberis FC and Meliden FC was abandoned when the Llanberis side walked off following alleged racial abuse.

Llanberis player Ifan Mansoor said he was abused towards the end of the game while playing. While the Meliden side has denied any racial abuse occurred and continues to be cooperating with the inquiry, the winger said a complaint was made to the Football Association of Wales (FAW) after Saturday's fixture.

North Wales Coast Football Association (NWCFA) said it was awaiting further information about the incident, after being informed on Saturday afternoon. Llanberis FC said the matter has been referred to the North Wales Police as well as the NWCFA and FAW but could not comment further.

I want, in the first instance, to extend my solidarity to all these men who have been at the receiving end of this abuse. We should not, in our twenties, in the year 2022, have to be the victims of this behavior.

I also want to urge organizations in the footballing world here in Wales to not only take these allegations seriously when they are made, but to ensure that players who experience this abuse are emotionally healthy.

We have seen football players, like Mesut Özil, actively step out of the realm of international football on the grounds of racism and discrimination. Our players need to be supported and protected.

Finally to the police, who are more often than not, less than sympathetic to people of colour: take racism against our players seriously, and take racism against the rest of us - including in your forces - seriously.

Politicians, not least the complacent Labour Welsh Government, and Plaid Cymru, which has made a co-operation deal with the government, should be standing up and decreeing that this behavior is unacceptable in our Wales.

Feeling safe should not be a privilege here in Wales, it should be the norm.

That is what I will always fight for.

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