Chelsea disgusted by online racist abuse aimed at James

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FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Leicester City v Chelsea

(Reuters) - Chelsea have condemned online racist abuse aimed at defender Reece James and called on social media platforms to take tougher action against users who engage in such "despicable behaviour".

England international James posted a screenshot of the abusive messages he received on Instagram with the caption "something needs to change".

"Everyone at Chelsea is disgusted with the racist abuse Reece James received on social media on Friday evening," the Premier League club said in a statement.

"This club finds racism and all forms of discriminatory behaviour unacceptable."

West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers, and Manchester United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were also the victims of online racial abuse this week.

Chelsea said social media must create an environment where hateful and discriminatory actions are not tolerated.

"We add our voice to those urging social media platforms and regulatory authorities to take stronger, more effective and more urgent action against this despicable behaviour," Chelsea said.

"Something needs to change and it needs to change now."

UK government ministers met top English players on Monday to discuss online abuse and discrimination as part of a series of 'Future of Football' discussions.

Chelsea, who are eighth in the table with 30 points from 20 games, host Burnley on Sunday.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; editing by Jane Wardell)