Dozens of people have been arrested and police are investigating reports of racist abuse on social media following the European championship final last night.
The highly-anticipated football game saw the England men’s team go head-to-head with Italy in the final, and though for a while it seemed like it might actually come home, the team ultimately lost in a penalty shoot-out.
The result led to disappointment for many, but while some opted to focus on praising England for their performance, police in London and elsewhere found dozens of people chose to react with disruptive and damaging behaviour.
The Football Association issued a statement in the wake of the abuse, in which it made clear that anyone involved in the ‘disgusting behaviour’ is not welcome as a fan.
We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.
Police have launched an investigation into the messages.
Meanwhile, the England team posted on Twitter: ‘We’re disgusted that some of our squad – who have given everything for the shirt this summer – have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online after tonight’s game. We stand with our players.’
Away from the online world, officers were on hand throughout the night in London, where Metropolitan police said 49 people were arrested for a ‘variety of offences’.
At least 19 officers were injured in confrontations with what were described as ‘volatile crowds’, and while the Met did not give details about the extent to which officers were injured, they described fans’ behaviour as ‘wholly unacceptable’.
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