UK leader condemns racism directed at England players

Sports

England’s manager Gareth Southgate embraces Bukayo Saka after he failed to score a penalty during a penalty shootout after extra time during of the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday condemned the racist abuse directed at three Black England players who missed their penalties in the team’s shootout loss to Italy in the final of the European Championship.

Johnson tweeted that “those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”

Marcus Rashford’s penalty hit the post and spots kicks from Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were saved by Italy’s goalkeeper on Sunday night. Italy won the shootout 3-2 after a match that ended 1-1 after extra time.

The 19-year-old Saka missed the decisive penalty that gave the title to Italy and denied England its first major international soccer trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

All three players immediately started receiving racist abuse on social media.

England’s Football Association issued a statement saying it was “appalled” by the “disgusting behavior.”

London police condemned the “unacceptable” abuse, adding it will be investigating the “offensive and racist” social media posts.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on social media companies to do more to hold offenders to account.

“There is absolutely no place for racism in football or anywhere else,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “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.”

Racist abuse directed at players was reported earlier in the tournament.

After a legal complaint by several anti-racism groups, the Paris prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into a raft of racist tweets after France lost on penalties to Switzerland in the Round of 16.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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