- Title: UK PM condemns racist abuse of England soccer team
- Date: 12th July 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 9, 2021) (REUTERS) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, STANDING OUTSIDE 10 DOWNING STREET WITH ENGLAND FLAG, POSING FOR CAMERAS
- Embargoed: 26th July 2021 09:07
- Keywords: Euro FA statement against racism Johnson Johnson EURO tweet Prince William football racism
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK/INTERNET
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK/INTERNET
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Europe,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA007ELJAH53
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday (July 12) condemned racist abuse on social media aimed at players of the England soccer team after their narrow defeat in the final of Euro 2020.
Police said they would also investigate the comments made towards Black players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka, who missed spot-kicks in a penalty shootout with Italy following a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
"This England team deserves to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media," Johnson said on Twitter. "Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves."
The England team has been highlighting the issue of racism throughout the tournament, taking the knee before all their matches. However, some fans have booed the gesture, with critics viewing it as an unwanted politicization of sport and an expression of sympathy with far-left politics.
Some ministers themselves have been accused of hypocrisy for refusing to criticise those who booed the team, but now join condemnation of the racist abuse.
While the social media feeds of the players also showed huge levels of support and gratitude from fans for the tournament, the abuse overshadowed the positive messages.
The English Football Association said fans who exhibited such "disgusting behaviour" were not welcome.
"We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible," the FA said in a statement.
London Police said officers were aware of the offensive and racist comments and would take action.
The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William who was present at the game with his wife Kate, also condemned the racist comments.
"I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night's match. 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"
The issue of online abuse of players led to British soccer authorities briefly boycotting social media platforms to highlight the issue, a stand joined by other sporting bodies. Tech firms have been repeatedly accused of failing to do enough to deal with the problem.
In May, the British government announced plans for a new law that could see social media companies fined up to 10% of turnover or 18 million pounds ($25 million) if they failed to stamp out online abuses such as racist hate crimes.
(Production: Paul Warren, Vanessa Romeo)
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