Euro 2020: FA, UEFA condemn racist abuse of England players
England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were subjected to racist abuse after the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy. All three players, who missed penalties in the shootout, received flak on social media after the game. Several football associations, including UEFA and FA, as well as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, condemned the racist abuse. Here are further details.
England missed out on the trophy
England had reached their first final in a major tournament since winning the World Cup in 1966. Despite claiming an early lead against Italy in the final, they drew 1-1 after extra time. The match was eventually decided via penalty shootout, which Italy won 3-2. Notably, Saka missed the decisive penalty that denied England their first international trophy since 1966.
UEFA condemns the 'disgusting racist abuse'
After the match, social media was flooded with racist posts aimed at Saka, Rashford, and Sancho. European football's governing body UEFA condemned the "disgusting racist abuse". It added, "We stand by the players and the FA's call for the strongest possible punishments."
Appalled by the online racism: FA
England's Football Association (FA) also released a statement on the same. "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 read. It added, "We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team."
The official statement of British PM
This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 12, 2021
Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.
English players took a knee before the tournament
England players had taken a knee before the start of Euro 2020 to show the fight against racial inequality. Even then, some discourteous fans had ridiculed them. However, PM Johnson didn't condemn the act back then. Instead, Johnson said he wanted to see fans "getting behind the team to cheer them". He was then accused of not having "the guts to call it out".
The spectators at Euro 2020 were ruthless
In a disrespectful gesture, a section of fans at Wembley Stadium booed Italy's national anthem ahead of the final between England and Italy. The unabashed fans ignored the constant pleas of Southgate, who had urged the fans to show some respect. Southgate's comments came after a number of supporters were heard booing the Denmark national anthem during the semi-final at Wembley last week.
Twitter removes over 1,000 tweets
In another development, Twitter said it had removed over 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended several accounts after the English players faced the "abhorrent" racist abuse. "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.
A look at other reactions
England manager Gareth Southgate said the racist abuse of players was "unforgivable". He stated, "It's just not what we stand for." Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police, investigating the abuse, said, "it will not be tolerated." The England team also released a statement that read, "We're disgusted that some of our squad, who have given everything for the shirt, have been subjected to discriminatory abuse."