England’s soccer team suffered a crushing loss on Sunday, falling to Italy on penalty kicks 3-2 in the Euro 2020 final. England was hoping for its first major international championship since the 1966 World Cup, but once again fell short.
After extra time, Italy and England were tied 1-1, but Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukaya Saka — who are black — missed their penalty kicks for England. Rashford hit the post with his penalty kick, while Sancho and Saka had their kicks blocked by Italian goaltender Gianluigi Donnarumma.
According to Yahoo Sports, the three players were subjected to racial abuse online, including monkey emojis, slurs and taunts.
“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 English soccer team said in a tweet. “We stand with our players.”
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.
We stand with our players ❤️ https://t.co/1Ce48XRHEl
— England (@England) July 12, 2021
England’s soccer governing body — the FA — also released a statement condemning the racial abuse.
“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 said. “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.”
— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) July 12, 2021
European soccer has long dealt with racial issues toward players of colors, and the posts drew immediate condemnation from English leaders.
“This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter. “Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
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.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 12, 2021
In 2019, the English players’ union led a social media boycott called the “Enough” campaign, which called for tougher action against online hatred.
Sadiq Khan — London’s Mayor — called on social media companies to remove those responsible for the racial abuse.
“There is absolutely no place for racism in football or anywhere else,” Khan wrote on Twitter. “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.
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.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) July 12, 2021
It was a crushing loss for England, who held a 1-0 lead until the 67th minute before Leonardo Bonucci of Italy scored from close range.
Saka’s team — Arsenal — also released a statement in support of their player.
Bukayo has been with us since he was seven and the whole club couldn’t have been prouder to see him represent England throughout the tournament. You could feel it right across the club.
Last night we witnessed the leadership and character we’ve always known and loved in Bukayo. However, this feeling of pride quickly turned to sorrow at the racist comments our young player was subjected to on his social media platforms after the final whistle.
Once again, we are sad to have to say we condemn the racism of a number of black players. This cannot continue and the social media platforms and authorities must act to ensure this disgusting abuse to which our players are subjected on a daily basis stops now.
The racist posts are being investigated by British police.
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