Four people have been arrested in connection to racial abuse aimed at England’s football players.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka have been inundated with racist comments after missing their penalties in the Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday, July 11.
In light of this, an investigation has been launched by police to try track down the footballers’ online abusers, which has so far resulted in four people being arrested.
Police have also submitted ‘dozens’ of data applications to social media companies, The Independent reports.
A statement by the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) read:
Following England’s defeat against Italy on Sunday a torrent of racist comments aimed at some of the team’s black players appeared on platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
A hate crime investigation is under way by the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU), with a dedicated team of investigators working their way through a large number of reports from across the country.
‘So far, dozens of data applications have been submitted to social media companies and four people have been arrested by local police forces,’ the statement added.
One of the four people arrested reportedly handed themselves in yesterday, July 14, to Cheadle Heath police station in Greater Manchester. The 37-year-old man was then arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Malicious Communications Act.
Two other men were arrested by West Mercia Police, The Independent reports. It has not been confirmed when and where the fourth person was taken into custody.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the football policing lead at the National Police Chiefs’ Council has described the racial abuse that Saka, Sancho and Rashford have received as ‘utterly vile’ and dubbed the three players as ‘true role models’.
He said, ‘The racial abuse aimed at our own players following Sunday night’s game is utterly vile and has quite rightly shocked and appalled people across the country. Our England team have been true role models during the tournament, conducting themselves with professionalism and dignity.’
‘I’m disgusted there are individuals out there who think it’s acceptable to direct such abhorrent abuse at them, or at anybody else,’ Roberts continued.
Roberts further promised the UKFPU investigation is ‘well underway’ and that he policing unit is ‘working closely’ with social media platforms in a bid to identify the abusers.
‘If we identify that you are behind this crime, we will track you down and you will face the serious consequences of your shameful actions,’ the football policing lead said.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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