Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho are still facing racist abuse online after England suffered a 3-2 loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 cup on penalties.
British police have opened investigations into the racist abuse of three Black players who missed penalties in England’s shootout loss to Italy in the European Championship final.
The Metropolitan Police on Monday condemned the “unacceptable” abuse of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Sako, and said they will be investigating the “offensive and racist” social media posts published soon after Italy won Sunday's shootout 3-2 after the match ended 1-1.
The English Football Association said it was “appalled” by the “disgusting behavior,” adding that social media companies should take action to make their platforms free from this “abhorrent” abuse.
“We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible,” the FA said.
“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."
A Twitter spokesperson also said the platform had removed more than 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts over racist abuse directed at England football players.
READ MORE: Euro 2020 cup goes to Rome
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.— England (@England) July 12, 2021
We stand with our players ❤️ https://t.co/1Ce48XRHEl
All three players targeted are part of a young England squad that has been widely praised for its diversity and social conscience.
Rashford, for one, has been at the forefront of a campaign against child poverty, which convinced the British government to restore free lunches for thousands of poor children amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Though British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves,” he has faced criticism for emboldening those booing the England team for taking a knee before their matches to protest against racial injustice.
Last month, Johnson's spokesman said the prime minister is “more focused on action rather than gestures.” That comment led to widespread criticism that Johnson was effectively encouraging those booing to carry on.
Three days later, his spokesman changed tack, saying the prime minister “respects the right of all people to peacefully protest and make their feelings known about injustices” and that he wanted to to cheer the team on and "not boo.”
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.
England coach Gareth Southgate described the abuse directed at the players as “unforgivable.”
“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,” Southgate said Monday.
Gary Neville, a former Manchester United player and now a TV commentator, said he wasn't surprised that the three players who missed their penalties were targeted for racist abuse and called out Johnson.
“The prime minister said it was OK for the population of this country to boo those players who are trying to promote equality and defend against racism,” he said on Sky News. “It starts at the very top and so for me I wasn't surprised in the slightest that I woke up this morning to those headlines."
"It starts at the very top."— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 12, 2021
Former footballer @GNev2 says has called on Boris Johnson to take a tougher stance on racism in football after some England players received abuse online following last night's clash with Italy.#Euro2020: https://t.co/KUBv2VLGWI pic.twitter.com/VoJPtslaaP
Home Secretary Priti Patel also condemned the abuse but has also faced criticism for encouraging those booing the players by describing their actions as “gesture politics.”
I am disgusted that @England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media.— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) July 12, 2021
It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable.
Prince William, who is the president of the FA, joined the chorus of condemnation, saying he was “sickened” by the racist abuse aimed at the England players.
“It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour,” he wrote on Twitter. "It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable.”
I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night’s match.— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) July 12, 2021
It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour.
It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable. W
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on social media companies to do more to hold offenders to account.
“There is absolutely no place for racism in football or anywhere else," he wrote in a Twitter post.
"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.”
Racist abuse directed at players was reported earlier in the tournament.
After a legal complaint by several anti-racism groups, the Paris prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into a raft of racist tweets after France lost on penalties to Switzerland in the round of 16.
Racist abuse of any kind is abhorrent and will not be tolerated on or off the pitch. @MetPoliceUK will investigate the appalling online abuse aimed at England players. Social media companies must take immediate action to remove and prevent this hate. pic.twitter.com/O6nKSTmFnr— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) July 12, 2021