​Former ​Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was present at the Laureus Sports Awards that saw ​Lionel Messi felicitated as the Sportsman of the year.

Speaking during the engagement, Wenger stated that clubs have to adopt a hardline stance on combating racism in modern football.

'Today in many countries, you have the fans organized in groups. And the [football] club has to be a part of that educational role.

Today we have enough modern tools to identify people who do it [target players with racist abuse] and to punish them severely and to ban them from going to games.

That is, for me, the first step that has to be made,' he outlined.

Wenger's comments come on the back of severe racist abuse suffered by Porto's Malian striker Moussa Marega recently, ​who insisted that he be substituted during a game against Vitoria Guimaraes after the abuse became unbearable.

Marega's predicament has only been the latest in a string of racial issues in global football that have come to the media's attention in 2020.

While clubs like Serie A side Cagliari have acted in separate instances to ban individuals guilty of racism, the problem is widespread and persists across leagues and continents.

Also Read: ​4 Disgusting Instances of Racism in Football This Season