Jul 15, 2021 - World

Four people arrested over racist abuse of England soccer players

Anti-racism protestors demonstrate by a mural of England forward Marcus Rashford.
Protestors demonstrate by a mural of England forward Marcus Rashford after it was defaced in Manchester, England. Photo: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images

Four people have been arrested in connection with online racist abuse of England soccer players after Sunday's European Championship final, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: A specialist team is looking into the offensive comments made against three Black players — Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka — on social media sites, according to U.K. police.

  • A hate crime investigation led by the U.K. Football Policing Unit is also underway, per Reuters.
  • All three soccer players missed their penalty shots during Sunday's shootout, which Italy won 3-2 after the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

What they're saying: "We are working very closely with social media platforms, who are providing data we need to progress enquiries," chief constable Mark Roberts, the officer responsible for leading Britain's policing response on soccer issues, said, per Reuters.

  • "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 big picture: The government condemned the racist comments and vowed to take action against social media companies if they do not swiftly remove offensive material online.

  • There had been 897 soccer-related incidents and 264 arrests in the 24 hours around the final, a big increase on previous soccer tournaments in 2016 and 2018, per Reuters.
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