Soccer-FA condemns racist abuse of players after England's Euro 2020 final loss

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Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v England
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LONDON (Reuters) -England's Football Association (FA) released a statement in the early hours of Monday morning condemning the online racist abuse of players following the team's penalty shootout loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

The sides drew 1-1 after extra time and Italy won the shootout 3-2, with England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are all Black, missing spot-kicks.

"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," the statement said.

"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."

The England team also released a statement condemning the abuse directed at its players on social media.

"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," the team tweeted.

Twitter said it had removed more than 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts following the "abhorrent" racist abuse directed at England players.

"In the past 24 hours, through a combination of machine learning based automation and human review, we have swiftly removed over 1000 Tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating our rules," a Twitter spokesperson said.

"We will continue to take action when we identify any Tweets or accounts that violate our policies.

"We have proactively engaged and continue to collaborate with our partners across the football community to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively and will continue to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behaviour — both online and offline."

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand said it is a "disgrace" for anyone to receive such online hate.

"Immediately after the game social media platforms became the toxic and racist safe place for the ignorant and cowardly rats to start spouting their disgusting feelings," Ferdinand tweeted https://twitter.com/rioferdy5/status/1414518838549491712.

British police said they would investigate the posts.

"We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the #Euro2020 final," the Metropolitan Police tweeted.

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

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the team deserved to be lauded as heroes and not racially abused on social media.

"Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves," Johnson tweeted.

Arsenal sent a message of support to their winger Saka while Rashford was backed by his club Manchester United.

"Football can be so cruel. But for your personality ... your character ... your bravery ... We'll always be proud of you. And we can't wait to have you back with us," Arsenal tweeted.

United said they looked forward to welcoming Rashford home, adding: "One kick won't define you as a player or person."

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, Shrivathsa Sridhar, Manasi Pathak and Kanishka Singh, editing by Ed Osmond, Peter Rutherford, Himani Sarkar and Christian Radnedge)

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