Bukayo Saka: ‘I knew instantly the kind of hate I would receive’ after racist abuse over England penalty miss

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 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

England star Bukayo Saka says he “knew instantly the kind of hate” he would receive after missing his penalty in Sunday’s Euro 2020 shootout defeat to Italy.

The Arsenal forward was one of three players to miss his spot-kick and, along with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, has subsequently been targeted by racist abuse on social media.

The 19-year-old switched off social media to spend time with family and reflect on the tournament instead of being caught up in all the backlash since. Saka has vowed that he won't let the experience or negativity break him but has called on social media companies to do more in response to the racist abuse sent to him and his peers.

In a statement on social media, Saka wrote: "To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I don't want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received this week.

"I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive, and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.

"There is no place for racism or hate of any kind in football or in any area of society and to the majority of people coming together to call out the people sending these messages, by taking action and reporting these comments to the police and by driving out the hate by being kind to one another, we will win.

"Love always wins."

Summing up his tournament and the final, Saka added: "It was an honour to be part of an England squad that leads by example, they are brothers for life and I’m grateful for everything that I have learnt from every one of the players and staff who worked so hard. To help that team reach our first final in 55 years, seeing my family in the crowd, knowing what they’ve given up to help me get there, that meant everything to me.

"There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you. I’m sorry that we couldn’t bring it home for you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we’ve got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win.

"My reaction post mach said it all. I was hurting so much and I felt like I’d let you all and my England family down, but I can promise you this… I will not let that moment or the negativity that I’ve received this week break me.

"For those who have campaigned on my behalf and sent me heartfelt letters, wished me and my family well - I’m so thankful. This is what football should be about. Passion, people of all races, genders, religions and backgrounds coming together with one shared joy of the rollercoaster of football."

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