Wembley Stadium in London. Picture: REUTERS
Wembley Stadium in London. Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — British police have arrested 11 people as part of an investigation into the online racist abuse directed at some of the black players in the England football team after their defeat in July’s Euro 2020 final.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the targets of the abuse after they missed spot-kicks in a penalty shoot-out with Italy, which settled the July 11 final after the game finished in a 1-1 draw.

The incident prompted a police investigation and drew wide condemnation from the England captain, manager, royalty, religious leaders and politicians.

The UK Football Policing Unit said 207 posts on social media were identified as criminal, of which 123 accounts belong to individuals overseas and 34 from the UK.

“There are people out there who believe they can hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting such abhorrent comments. They need to think again,” chief constable Mark Roberts, National Police Chiefs’ Council Football Policing Lead, said in a statement.

“We have investigators proactively seeking out abusive comments in connection to the match and, if they meet a criminal threshold, those posting them will be arrested.

“Our investigation is continuing at pace and we are grateful for those who have taken time to report racist posts to us.”

A Twitter spokesperson said in July they had removed more than 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts, while Facebook said it too had quickly removed abusive comments.

Reuters

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