West Ham have contacted police and social media companies regarding “a number of racist and abusive messages” sent to their defender Hawa Cissoko after last Saturday’s 2-1 WSL win at Aston Villa.

Cissoko was sent off after an altercation with Villa’s Sarah Mayling and tweeted later that day: “It’s lucky that not much affects me! Because some nonsense and (very aggressive) insults are flying around!”

West Ham said: “While we in no way condone Hawa’s actions on the pitch, for which she has apologised, everyone at the club is disgusted by the hateful content of the online messages subsequently sent to her.

“They have been passed directly to the police and reported to the relevant social media companies. There is no place for this in society and we condemn it unreservedly.”

Cissoko apologised on Twitter on Thursday for the behaviour that led to her red card, saying there was “no excuse”, and wrote: “In contrast to those finding pleasure in sending me abusive and hateful messages, a massive thank you to those who have sent me words of support.”

She also tweeted: “What do my origins, my skin colour and my physique have to do with this story?”

Villa’s manager, Carla Ward, described online abuse aimed at Cissoko and Mayling as “horrific” and “absolutely unacceptable”.

She said: “They’re both human beings, good human beings at that. They’ve been involved in an altercation that’s happened in a highly charged and emotional game and I’m sure they’re both very sorry for the incident that happened.

“But neither of them, nobody, deserves to have to go through what they went through in terms of that online abuse.”

Cissoko might face an additional ban after the Football Association charged her with suspected violent behaviour following the infraction for which she was sent off and alleged improper conduct in the technical area.

The FA also accused West Ham manager Paul Konchesky and Aston Villa operations assistant Jack Hopkins with inappropriate behaviour, as well as both clubs with failing to ensure their players and/or officials behaved properly.

Villa stated that they will fight the charges. West Ham United has until Monday to answer.

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