British Police Make Arrests Over Racist Abuse of Black English Soccer Players

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were targeted following England's loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final

A digital mural unveiled in support of Black English soccer players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka
A digital mural of Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho on July 14, 2021.
Getty Images

After Black soccer players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were targeted with racist abuse following England’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, British police have made a number of arrests in the case, per the BBC.

Targeted after they missed penalty kicks in the Euro final, Rashford, Sancho and Saka were attacked online on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Authorities have called for the social media companies to remove the offensive material more quickly.

“We are working very closely with social media platforms, who are providing data we need to progress enquiries,” said Chief Constable Mark Roberts. “If we identify that you are behind this crime, we will track you down and you will face the serious consequences of your shameful actions.”

Following an investigation, five people have been arrested for displaying threatening, abusive or insulting written material that is likely to stir up racial hatred.

In a statement released Monday, the Football Association urged the British government to take action on legislation to criminalize online harassment. “We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and are appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media,” soccer’s governing body in England said. “We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also condemned the racist harassment of Black players.

Prince William also denounced the abuse.

English national team coach Gareth Southgate called the harassment “unforgivable.”

“It’s just not what we stand for,” Southgate said. “We heal together as a team now, and we’re there for them, and I know that 99% of the public will be as well, because they will appreciate how well they played.”

In the 24 hours surrounding the Euro final, British police said there were 897 soccer-related incidents and 264 arrests, per ESPN.

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