Bukayo Saka is threatened by online racism after Euro 2020

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The English Football Association condemned racist attacks on social media against football players after losing to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Italy beat England on penalties 3-2 after the match ended up being drawn, 1-1 on overtime. Englishmen Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are black, missed penalties and received racial abuse on social media almost immediately after the game, including monkey emojis, insults and taunts for “leaving my country”.

FA “horrified” by “disgusting behavior”

Bukayo Saka, 19, was racially insulted after losing at Euro 2020 on Sunday. (Reuters / Carl Recine)

The FA – the governing body of English football – issued a statement on Sunday evening in which it castigated the abuse on social media.

“The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled at the online racism against some of our English players on social media,” the statement said. “We couldn’t be more clear that anyone behind such disgusting behavior is not welcome to follow the team.

“We will do everything we can to support the players affected and at the same time demand the toughest penalties for all those responsible.”

Racial abuse from football players across Europe is nothing new. US soccer players have also been targeted. English players took a knee before the game during Euro 2020 to make a statement against racism and discrimination. The act was greeted by the fans in the stands with a mixture of cheers and boos.

FA calls on social media platforms

The FA promised on Sunday to call for punishment for fans who are racially insulted. It also urged social media companies to take responsibility.

“We will do everything in our power to support the players affected and at the same time demand the toughest penalties for all those responsible,” the statement said. “We will continue to do everything we can to get discrimination out of the game, but we ask the government to act quickly and bring the appropriate laws in place so that this abuse has real life consequences.

“Social media companies need to take increased responsibility and take action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution, and help rid their platforms of this type of heinous abuse.”

The FA and Premier League joined a four-day boycott of social media across English sport in April to raise awareness of ongoing online racism against athletes.

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