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Football: FA, PM Johnson condemn racist abuse of players following England's final loss

Football: FA, PM Johnson condemn racist abuse of players following England's final loss

England's manager Gareth Southgate embraces Bukayo Saka after he missed a spot kick during a penalty shootout after extra time of the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium in London on Jul 11, 2021. (Photo: AP/Carl Recine, Pool)

LONDON: England's Football Association (FA) released a statement in the early hours of Monday morning (Jul 12) condemning the online racist abuse of players following the team's penalty shootout loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

The sides drew 1-1 after extra time and Italy won the shootout 3-2, with England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are all black, missing spot kicks.

"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."

The England team also released a statement condemning the abuse directed at its players on social media.

"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 tweeted.

British police said that they would investigate the posts.

"We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the #Euro2020 final," the Metropolitan Police tweeted.

"This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the team deserved to be lauded as heroes and not racially abused on social media.

"Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves," Johnson tweeted.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on social media companies to remove such content from their platforms.

"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," Khan said in a tweet.

Arsenal sent a message of support to their winger Saka while Rashford was backed by his club Manchester United.

"Football can be so cruel. But for your personality ... your character ... your bravery ... We'll always be proud of you. And we can't wait to have you back with us," Arsenal tweeted.

United said that they looked forward to welcoming Rashford home, adding: "One kick won't define you as a player or person."

Source: Reuters/kg

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