England’s Football Association condemned racist attacks unleashed by soccer fans on social media Monday morning after the country’s disappointing loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
The attacks were largely targeted towards Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are all black. Each player missed a penalty kick during the crucial shootout that decided the game – and tournament – for Italy.
“The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media,” the statement said.
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”
Added the team 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.”
Many of the graphic social media attacks included monkey and banana emojis. London’s Metropolitan Police said it will be investigating the “offensive and racist” posts.
“We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the Euro 2020 final,” the department said on Twitter. “This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated.”
A mural dedicated to Rashford, who has been an active campaigner for helping feed vulnerable British children, was vandalized Sunday. Rashford has dealt with racial abuse in the past, including when he said he received more than 70 hate messages following Manchester United’s Europa League final defeat in May.
“Racist abuse will never be tolerated, for club nor for country,” Manchester United said on Twitter. “If you see any form of abuse or discrimination, act and report it.”
Prince William also condemned the attacks, as did UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media,” Johnson said on Twitter. “Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
England’s players protested racism throughout the tournament, taking a knee before their games, including Sunday. In England’s first major tournament final since 1966, Luke Shaw scored two minutes in for England, before Leonardo Bonucci got the equalizer for Italy in the second half.
The game remained 1-1 after extra time, and Italy won the penalty shootout 3-2.