England's most successful soccer team in 55 years has received vile racist abuse, its players take stand
- Three England players have been subjected to vile racist abuse following the Euro 2020 final.
- Teammates have hit out against abusers while also criticising politicians for "stoking the fire."
- The abuse threatens to tarnish England's first major tournament final appearance since 1966.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
England players have come together after three of its members were subjected to racist abuse following the Euro 2020 final.
Italy defeated The Three Lions in London on Sunday, spoiling the England team's first final in 55 years.
After the match, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, and Bukayo Saka, who did not score during the shootout, became targets of online hatred.
British police said the abuse will not be tolerated and will be investigated. The attacks were also condemned by England manager Gareth Southgate. "It's just not what we stand for," he said, according to Sky Sports.
"We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.
"We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together."
The targeted players were also supported by their teammates with captain Harry Kane saying the abusers were not wanted as fans.
Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse theyâ€™ve had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media youâ€™re not an @England fan and we donâ€™t want you. pic.twitter.com/PgskPAXgxV— Harry Kane (@HKane) July 12, 2021
Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings hit out against UK politician Priti Patel, accusing her of "stoking the fire" of racial hatred.
"You don't get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as 'Gesture Politics' and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we're campaigning against, happens." Mings tweeted.
It was not just within the squad that the players received support. Rio Ferdinand, Erling Haaland, and Memphis Depay all tweeted in support while stars outside of the sport such as Lewis Hamilton backed the players.
In Manchester, a mural of Rashford was defaced with racist messages.
The mural, which is in Withington four miles from Old Trafford, depicted the Manchester United player alongside the words "Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose".
On Sunday, it was vandalised with racist messages but the abuse has since been covered by hundreds of messages of support. Rashford said he was on the "verge of tears" having seen the messages of support.
More players have been targeted of late
The past season has seen a rise in efforts to combat online hate as more and more players are targeted.
In February, English football's organisers, as well as independent groups such as the Professional Footballers' Association, League Managers Association, and Kick It Out, wrote to the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook asking for more to be done and calling the platforms "havens for abuse."
"Your inaction has created the belief in the minds of the anonymous perpetrators that they are beyond reach. The relentless flow of racist and discriminatory messages feeds on itself: the more it is tolerated by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, platforms with billions of users, the more it becomes normal, accepted behaviour." the letter read.
In April, the coalition alongside all Premier League and English Football League clubs and other authorities took a three-day silence from social media platforms to highlight racism and to encourage those who run the platforms to do more.
Players and clubs have asked for stricter requirements in the joining process for these platforms including requiring ID to sign up.
BT, which shares broadcast rights for the Premier League in the UK, launched an initiative to combat online hate. 'Hope United' has recruited top footballers from the men's game and the women's game in an effort to tackle the rising cases, and spread awareness of the issue.
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