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Chelsea’s first black player, Paul Canoville, believes racism has increased in football over the last 30 years

11:48 GMT+3 13/10/2019
Tammy Abraham, Chelsea
The midfielder suffered horrendous racist abuse as a player in 1980s and says he is appalled at the discrimination still prevalent in today’s game

Chelsea’s first black player, Paul Canoville, has said that he thinks racism is only getting worse in English and world football.

There have been a number of high-profile incidents of discriminatory behaviour in England this season, with leading stars such as Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham having received racist abuse on social media.

Last weekend alone in the Premier League, Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion fans were involved in racist chanting, with both clubs now attempting to identify those involved in the incidents.

And it’s not just in the Premier League where racism is prevalent in football, with there having been a number of incidents in Italy this season, such as Romelu Lukaku receiving monkey chants from opposition supporters and Atalanta being fined just €10,000 for the racist abuse of Fiorentina's Dalbert.

On the international stage the situation is equally as grave, with England set to play in a partially closed stadium away to Bulgaria on Monday night as a result of racism in previous games, while several of their players were subjected to monkey chants in a trip to Montenegro earlier this year.

For Canoville, these numerous occasions indicate to him that racism has not decreased in football since his playing days in the 1980s. He has also called on the governing bodies to do more to help black players.

“There’s a lack of support for black players and the authorities themselves, the big boys: the Premier League, UEFA, the FA - they’ve got to do a lot more,” Canoville told Sky Sports .

“This has steadily been gaining and they haven’t got a clue about the situation or how to eradicate it. It’s not just at international level, it’s all grounds [in the] Premier League. Every club has got to sort this out.”

Canoville is considered one of game’s pioneers for black players after he suffered repeated racist abuse from his own supporters when playing for Chelsea between 1981-1986.

“This really does hurt,” he said. “I’m thinking, 30 years after what I went through and I see it’s got worse. From ground to ground, hearing it - something’s got to be done.”

During his career, Canoville also played for Reading, but was forced to retire from professional football in 1987 after suffering a serious knee injury.