Soccer-West Brom issue life ban to man found guilty of online racist abuse

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(Reuters) - West Bromwich Albion have handed a life ban to a 50-year-old man convicted of racially abusing midfielder Romaine Sawyers online earlier this year, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

Sawyers was targeted after West Brom's 5-0 league defeat by Manchester City on Jan. 26. His abuser was found guilty under the Communications Act of having posted a "grossly offensive message" following a trial at Walsall Magistrates' Court.

"The club welcomes the guilty verdict and has issued a lifetime ban to the person in question," West Brom said in a statement on their website.

"West Brom has a proud history of fighting all forms of discrimination and our message to supporters is clear; racism is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the club."

Several Premier League players have been subjected to racial abuse online in recent months and English soccer has been piling pressure on social media firms to do more to tackle the problem.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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