Gary Neville has laid some blame at the feet of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a rise in racial incidents, not just at football grounds but in British society at large.
Neville was speaking in reference to an incident at the Manchester derby where cameras caught a fan apparently making racist gestures towards Fred and Jesse Lingard.
The Brazilian midfielder was also seemingly the target of objects thrown from the stands at the Etihad Stadium, including cigarette lighters and a plastic bottle.
Speaking in the Sky Sports studio after the game Neville referenced Friday evening’s debate between Conservative Johnson and leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, ahead of next Thursday’s General Election.
“You talk about it being a societal problem and it absolutely is,” the former United right back said.
“You are watching the Prime Minister’s debate last night where he [Johnson] is taking about migration to this country, and people having to have certain levels.
“It fuels it all the time. It has got worse over the last three years in this country and not just in football.”
City say they are working with Greater Manchester Police to identify the perpetrators of the incident.
“The club operates a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life,” a club statement read, in part.
City manager Pep Guardiola said he was certain the “club and the police are going to take the right decision so it doesn’t happen again.”
His United counterpart, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, said the incident was “unacceptable” and that he hoped the guilty party would “not be watching any football any more.”
Marcus Rashford, who scored the Red Devils first goal in a 2-1 win, echoed Neville’s view that racism is a problem in society and not just football, but called for the sport’s governing bodies to do more to combat it.
"The fact it is still happening is not good enough," he told the BBC.
"We seem to be speaking about it an awful lot over last six to eight months. Even speaking about it now is not nice.
"The necessary departments need to do the right things to stop it in the game. It is a big negative in the sport and the country."