Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who all missed penalties as England endured penalty shootout heartbreak in the Euro 2020 final, suffer racist abuse after the match on social media; Gareth Southgate: 'It's just not what we stand for'; PM Boris Johnson slams 'appalling abuse'
Monday 12 July 2021 19:00, UK
Gareth Southgate, the Football Association and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have condemned racist online abuse suffered by a number of England players following the 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".
England manager Southgate said the discrimination directed at the three players following the defeat at Wembley demonstrates the antithesis of what the national team's values are and the "togetherness" that the squad has shown.
When asked about the abuse, he said: "For some of them to be abused is unforgivable really.
"I know some of that has come from abroad, people who track these things are able to explain that, but not all of it.
"It's just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.
"We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together.
"It's my decision who takes the penalties, it's not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out."
An FA spokesperson said support will be given to the trio affected and English football's governing body have implored the government and technology companies to take robust action on the issue.
A statement read: "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 the 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."
The Metropolitan Police also condemned the "unacceptable" abuse, adding it will be investigating the "offensive and racist" social media posts.
Greater Manchester Police are also looking into complaints of online racial abuse aimed at England's players following the Euro 2020 final.
A police spokesperson said: "Reports from across the UK are being collated by United Kingdom Football Policing Unit and The Metropolitan Police and will then be allocated to the relevant forces for further investigation if required".
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."
England midfielder Jude Bellingham admitted racism towards his team-mates was "hurtful but not surprising".
Bellingham, 18, made three substitute appearances at Euro 2020 but did not feature in the final.
"We win together and we lose together," the Borussia Dortmund midfielder wrote in a social media post.
"So proud to have team-mates with such top character. Takes huge b******* just to volunteer.
"As for the racism, hurtful but not surprising. Will never get bored of saying that more needs to be done. Educate and control the platforms!"
Julian Knight MP, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, encouraged the government to introduce tougher legislation for social media companies.
"The racist abuse of England players online is repellent and vile," he said in a statement.
"Perpetrators should be getting a knock on the door from the police and facing the full force of the law. Social media companies once alerted to this abuse have an acute responsibility to immediately take it down.
"The government needs to get on with legislating the tech giants. Enough of the foot dragging, all those who suffer at the hand of racists, not just England players, deserve better protections now."
Facebook, owners of Instagram, say a number of users on the platform were removed and comments were deleted in the wake of the abuse which was sent to the England trio.
A Facebook company spokesperson has told Sky Sports News: "No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don't want it on Instagram.
"We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England's footballers last night and we'll continue to take action against those that break our rules.
"In addition to our work to remove this content, we encourage all players to turn on Hidden Words, a tool which means no one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs.
"No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we're committed to keeping our community safe from abuse."
Twitter insists it has removed more than 1,000 tweets and suspended "a number of accounts" in relation to the abuse, and says it will continue its work with the football community to tackle the problem of online hate.
A statement from the company read: "The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter.
"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 - the vast majority of which we detected ourselves proactively using technology.
"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."
Sky Sports News also offered Facebook and Twitter the opportunity to comment in an on-camera interview but the requests were declined.
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) condemned the abuse and called on social platforms to "do better" by "permanently banning all offending accounts and proactively compiling evidence to give to the police to pursue prosecution".
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, which works to ensure technology helps society, says social media companies should require users to verify their identities if they want to stop online abuse.
Director of Policy, Dr Bill Mitchell said: "Despite the boycotts and some technical changes from big tech companies, some people still see social media as a consequence-free playground for racial abuse - as we saw last night with England players.
"IT experts think these platforms should ask people to verify their real ID behind account handles; at the same time, public anonymity is important to large groups of people and so no one should have to use their real name online and any verification details behind the account must be rigorously protected."
Greater Manchester Police were called to reports of racially aggravated damage to a mural depicting Rashford on Copson Street in the Manchester suburb of Withington.
No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.
GMP will be working alongside Manchester City Council and the artist to ensure this graffiti is removed and the mural is repaired as soon as possible.
Chief Superintendent Paul Savill, of GMP's City of Manchester division, said: "This is disgraceful behaviour and will absolutely not be tolerated.
"Greater Manchester prides itself on being made up from a number of diverse communities and hate crime in any form is completely unacceptable and not welcome here in our city.
"GMP takes crimes of this nature very seriously and an investigation has been launched. If anyone has any information that could help us to identify this offender please do not hesitate to speak to police."
Leyton Orient have confirmed that a banning order issued to a supporter over racist abuse following the Euro 2020 final, has been changed to a lifetime ban after an internal investigation.
A three-year ban was initially issued but an updated statement read on Monday night: "The club has today issued a lifetime banning order to a supporter, following reports of racist abuse following last night's Euro 2020 final.
"The supporter in question's actions on Twitter were alerted to the club late last night, and action has been taken swiftly to issue a banning order.
"As the club has repeatedly made clear, we take a zero-tolerance approach to any racist abuse or discrimination.
"Further to the banning order, the supporter will be fully refunded the purchase for their Season Card for the 2021/22 season.
"The club is extremely proud of its diverse history, and continues to work with local authorities and governing bodies to enact change."
"UEFA strongly condemns the disgusting racist abuse directed at several England players on social media after the EURO final, which has no place in football or society," a statement read.
"We stand by the players and the English FA's call for the strongest possible punishments."
Prime Minister Johnson also offered his support for the players.
"This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media," he tweeted. "Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves."
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."
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, added: "I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night's match.
"It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour. It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable."
Arsenal have strongly condemned the "disgusting" abuse sent to their player Bukayo Saka, along with the discriminatory messages directed towards his two England team-mates.
The Gunners also expressed immense pride in their 19-year-old academy product, who shone for England throughout Euro 2020.
A club statement read: "Bukayo has been with us since he was seven and the whole club couldn't have been prouder to see him represent England throughout the tournament. You could feel it right across the club.
"Last night we witnessed the leadership and character we've always known and loved in Bukayo. However, this feeling of pride quickly turned to sorrow at the racist comments our young player was subjected to on his social media platforms after the final whistle.
"Once again, we are sad to have to say we condemn the racism of a number black players. This cannot continue and the social media platforms and authorities must act to ensure this disgusting abuse to which our players are subjected on a daily basis stops now.
"We have processes in place internally at Arsenal to ensure our players are supported both emotionally and practically on this issue but sadly there is only so much we can do.
"Our message to Bukayo is: hold your head high, we are so very proud of you and we cannot wait to welcome you back home to Arsenal soon."
Tottenham showed their support to Saka by tweeting a photo of their striker Harry Kane embracing the Arsenal winger alongside the caption: "We stand together".
Spurs added: "We are driven by inclusion and equality and nobody should have to endure the repulsive online abuse seen recently."
Marcus Rashford's club Manchester United wrote: "Racist abuse will never be tolerated, for club nor for country."
Everton said: "It is completely unacceptable that anyone should be subjected to racist abuse. We stand with England to condemn all forms of abuse and discrimination that some of the squad were subjected to after last night's game."
Sky Sports is committed to making skysports.com and our channels on social media platforms a place for comment and debate that is free of abuse, hate and profanity.
For more information, please visit: www.skysports.com/againstonlinehate
If you see a reply to Sky Sports posts and/or content with an expression of hate on the basis of race, sex, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age or class, please copy the URL to the hateful post and screengrab it and email us here.
Kick It Out is football's equality and inclusion organisation - working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.