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O’Neill: “There are still problems with racism in football”

Martin O’Neill says it is important to highlight the racial abuse directed at Cyrus Christie.

The Republic of Ireland defender has been subjected to vile racial abuse on several occasions over the past 12 months, and O’Neill says the issue “seems to have gotten back to the surface again.”

“I think it’s too easy to say, ‘Come off Twitter’. That’s almost like giving in,” the 66 year old said.

“He shouldn’t have to and I don’t think he should do. I’m not on Twitter but I have heard of the abuse and made aware of it. It’s remarkable that people in this day and age can attack somebody in this way and also get away with it.”

The Republic of Ireland manager played with Viv Anderson – England’s first black international – and discussed the abuse aimed at the former Nottingham Forest star.

“Some years ago I played for a very decent football team (Nottingham Forest) that produced the first black man to play for England in Viv Anderson,” O’Neill continued.

“He was a wonderful footballer and adored by all the football fans in Nottingham but who took terrible abuse away from home and all because of the colour of his skin.

“While those situations have improved immensely over the last 25 to 30 years there are still problems. There is much greater integration now so there is no place for racism, absolutely no place for it but it exists.

“Funnily enough with these particularly new gadgets coming in like Twitter, it seems to have gotten back to the surface again.

“Cyrus has, seemingly on the surface, adopted an attitude like Viv Anderson by saying, ‘Well, it’s happened, I don’t like what they are saying but such is life’. But it should not happen.

“We all have to play a part. It’s a feeling that nothing has been done and that’s disappointing. That’s something we have to highlight.”

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