Men arrested for online racist abuse of English footballers

Both suspects claim social media accounts were hacked after Euro 2020 final

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 14 July 2021 08:50
<p>England’s Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Bukayo Saka reach out to Marcus Rashford after he missed a penalty in the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 final</p>

England’s Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Bukayo Saka reach out to Marcus Rashford after he missed a penalty in the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 final

Two men have been arrested after England footballers were subjected to online racial abuse following the team’s Euro 2020 final loss.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all targeted on social media after missing penalties in the defeat to Italy on Sunday.

Police investigating a racist tweet aimed at Rashford arrested and released a 50-year-old man from Powick, near Worcester.

West Mercia Police said the suspect was detained on suspicion of inciting racial hatred following reports of an inappropriate tweet posted in the hours after the game.

Media reports said the offensive tweet, saying England star Rashford’s MBE “needs burning ya fake” and adding he should return to his “own country”, appeared on the account of a youth football coach, who claimed his Twitter account was hacked.

The man, who was not named by police, has since been released under investigation.

Inspector Pete Nightingale, from Worcester police station, said: “We encourage people to make these reports and are pleased with the speed at which we have been able to deal with this incident.

“We continue to work with the local football community and have links with the local clubs to ensure that this behaviour is dealt with appropriately.”

It comes after the force also arrested and released a man in his 60s from Shropshire after racist comments appeared on Facebook.

The man, reportedly a councillor who later resigned from Pontesbury Parish Council, said his Facebook account had been hacked.

The council confirmed it had reported the comments to police, adding in a statement: “Pontesbury Parish Council is aware of comments made on Facebook by a former member of the parish council.

“These comments are made by an individual and do not represent the views of this council.

“We find these comments strongly offensive and will not tolerate racism nor discrimination of any kind.

“The council have reported this serious matter to the police and are currently assisting them with their enquiries.

“The council disassociates itself with these comments and can report that the chairman has today accepted this councillor’s resignation from Pontesbury Parish Council.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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