Football Association and Downing Street condemn racist abuse of England players

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The Football Association has condemned the racist online abuse suffered by a number of England players following the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 loss to Italy.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all failed from the spot on Sunday night as England went down on penalties.

The trio’s social media pages were quickly flooded with racist comments, leading the FA to release a statement condemning the “disgusting behaviour”.

A spokesperson said: “The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.

“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.

“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences. Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the racist abuse aimed at the players.

Mr Johnson said: “This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel also tweeted: “I am disgusted that @England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media.

“It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable.”

Italy v England – UEFA Euro 2020 Final – Wembley Stadium
England’s Bukayo Saka stands dejected after missing his penalty (Mike Egerton, PA)

The Metropolitan Police also condemned the “unacceptable” abuse, adding it will be investigating the “offensive and racist” social media posts.

The force said in a statement on Twitter: “We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the #Euro2020 final.

“This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated.”

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The official Twitter account for the England men’s and women’s national teams offered support to the victimised players.

It said in a statement: “We’re disgusted that some of our squad – who have given everything for the shirt this summer – have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online after tonight’s game.

“We stand with our players.”

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on social media companies to do more to hold to account those responsible for sending online abuse.

He wrote on Twitter: “There is absolutely no place for racism in football or anywhere else.

“Those responsible for the disgusting online abuse we have seen must be held accountable – and social media companies need to act immediately to remove and prevent this hate.”

Arsenal tweeted in support of Saka, saying: “We couldn’t be any prouder of Bukayo. But once again, we are sad to have to say we condemn the racism of a number black players.”

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Former England striker Alan Shearer was appalled by the racist abuse suffered by Rashford, Sancho and Saka.

He told BBC Breakfast: “What on earth are people thinking about to go online and abuse these players?

“What is wrong with these people? It is so ridiculous. Absolutely disgusting.

“An individual has to volunteer for a penalty and I have full admiration for the guys who were brave enough to stand up and take a penalty for England. It’s a horrible situation to be in.”

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