PM & FA condemn racist abuse of England players following Italy loss

England captain Harry Kane (right) chased by Italy’s forward Lorenzo Insigne during the EURO 2020 final in Wembley, England on July 11. (Credit: Michael Regan/UEFA/AA)

By Harun Nasrullah

London, (The Muslim News): Prime Minister, Opposition leader, the Mayor of London and the Football Association (FA) have condemned racist abuse aimed at England’s black stars Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and teenager Bukayo Saka after the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy on July 11. The trio missed penalties in the 3-2 shootout loss and were targeted on social media after the game.

The Metropolitan Police is investigating the abuse and said: “it will not be tolerated”.

Johnson called the abuse “appalling”.

‘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,’ Tweeted the PM Boris Johnson.

Following the loss, the Mayor of London said there was no tolerance for racism.

‘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,’ tweeted Sadiq Khan.

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer echoed that statement, tweeting, ‘The entire England team have brought us together and given us memories that will last a lifetime. They represent the best of us. Anyone racially abusing them is a disgrace and doesn’t represent us at all. More can and must be done to stop online abuse.’

England’s players have taken a knee before games at the Euros to highlight the fight against racial inequality.

The FA said it was “appalled” by the “online racism” of the trio following the defeat at Wembley.

It added: “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.”

Rashford highlighted racial abuse he received on social media following the Europa League final loss with Manchester United on May 26.

Last year Sancho was among sports stars protesting against racism following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Social media companies have been criticised for perceived lack of action on racist abuse on their platforms, and in April Instagram announced a tool to enable users to automatically filter out abusive messages from those they do not follow.

Following numerous online abuse cases, several clubs, players, athletes and bodies took part in a four-day boycott of social media in April to encourage social network companies to take a stronger stance against racist online abuse.

The Match

England’s bid to end their 55-year wait for a major trophy ended in the familiar agony of defeat in a penalty shoot-out as Italy claimed the Euro 2020 crown at Wembley.

England looked on course for a repeat of the 1966 World Cup heroics when Luke Shaw gave them the perfect start after two minutes.

Italy, unbeaten in 33 matches before this final, slowly edged their way back into the game and were level in the 67th minute when Leonardo Bonucci pounced on goalkeeper Jordan Pickford turned Marco Verratti’s header onto a post.

And after a tense period of extra time failed to find a winner, it was on to penalties and bitter disappointment for England manager Gareth Southgate and his players.

England missed three of their five penalties, Marcus Rashford hitting a post and Gianluigi Donnarumma denying Jadon Sancho and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.

Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored for England, but, while Pickford kept hopes alive with saves from Andrea Belotti and Jorginho, Domenico Berardi, Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi scored for Italy.

The tearful 19-year-old Saka, who showed such courage to step forward, was consoled by his teammates and manager.

Southgate’s side came firing out of the blocks when Kieran Trippier ran on to Kane’s perfect pass to find the onrushing Shaw at the far post, and he slammed an emphatic goal.

However, the seasoned Italian side was on the back foot until they suddenly gained a foothold in the closing phase of the first half.

Italy dominated possession, and it was no surprise when they restored parity, then looking as the more likely winners as Southgate’s side, so full of running early on, started to labour, particularly after losing the outstanding Declan Rice to a knock.

Sancho and Rashford came on in the closing moments, presumably in readiness for penalties, but both failed with their spot-kicks. Pickford performed heroics to save two penalties, but he was also left in tears after England’s fate was sealed.


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