Euro 2020 final: Boris Johnson condemns racist abuse of England football players including Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho following defeat to Italy
The nation was left devastated when dreams of being crowned champions of Europe in front of a home crowd at Wembley Stadium were crushed in the final seconds on Sunday night.
Italy ended the Three Lions’ bid for glory with a 3-2 victory on penalties at Wembely Stadium in London.
The England team said from their Twitter account they were “disgusted” at discriminatory abuse of their players following the Euros final.
“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 said.
“We stand with our players,” they added, alongside a love heart emoji.
A spokesperson for The Football Association 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.”
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.”
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy shared images of some racist abuse posted on social media in the wake of England’s defeat, tweeting: “This is why we take the knee.
“Praying for a better future – worthy of the values, beauty and respect exemplified by every single England player,” the Labour MP added.
A proposed piece of legislation could help crack down on online racist abuse, a Government minister has suggested.
Health minister Edward Argar told Sky News: “We are bringing forward at the moment measures in our Online Harms Bill to strengthen how internet and social media platforms behave and their responsibilities to take action against this sort of behaviour.
“It would be further strengthening because, as I say, the police are already investigating, so they are already looking into possible offences committed here.
“But what we’re doing is moving forward with that and I’ve already been in touch this morning with the Culture Secretary (Oliver Dowden) about this and I know he shares my disappointment and horror at the way people have behaved at this moment.
“Sadly, it is something that happens all too often on social media to our sporting heroes but also to many others, and it is right that, with the legislation we have taken forward, that we further strengthen the regime to tackle it.”
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