Leicester contact police after 'vile and disgusting' online abuse of players

The Premiership club says players’ families have also been targeted.

LEICESTER TIGERS HAVE contacted police and several social media platforms after what they called “vile and disgusting” personal online abuse of players and their families.

The Premiership club’s actions come after a major Garda investigation was launched last month in Ireland into allegations of serious online abuse and harassment of Munster players.

Leicester’s Tom Youngs Leicester captain Tom Young and his family have been targeted. Inpho / Billy Stickland Inpho / Billy Stickland / Billy Stickland

Leicester, who have been drawn into a relegation battle in England, say that “malicious content” was aimed at players and their families after a defeat to Exeter Chiefs last weekend.

The Welford Road-based club say they have reported the abuse to police and the relevant social media platforms as a crime, while they promised to issue lifetime bans to anyone they can identify as an abuser in this instance. 

Leicester captain Tom Youngs was one of several players who had family members targeted on their personal social media pages.

“It isn’t a new thing for players at Tigers and in all sports to be criticised for performances that fans don’t believe are good enough,” said Youngs in Leicester’s statement.

“At the moment, we have not been good enough and accept that it means a lot to our supporters, who are entitled to have their say on our performances.

“However, no family members are deserving of being pulled into that criticism and nothing of the sort myself and players have received in recent weeks is appropriate, ever.”

Chris Rose, the head of brand at Leicester, appealed to “any supporters that have any information that could be relevant to contact the club or Leicestershire Police and help us make a stand against anyone having to receive these kind of messages.

Geordan Murphy Former Ireland fullback Geordan Murphy is head coach at Leicester. Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

“As the face of the club, the players may well receive the brunt of what is out there, but what we see week in, week out is a huge amount of blood, sweat and tears from our men,” said Rose.

“Every person at the club finds it an honour to work at Welford Road and so accept all opinions on how we are doing our jobs for our supporters, but when this tips over into foul abuse the club will do everything in its power to make sure people that believe that is acceptable behaviour are found and dealt with.

“There is no place in society or the Tigers Family for this, let alone in our sport which prides itself on the family-friendly nature of the game.”

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