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Police investigate racist abuse of three England soccer players

British police open investigations into the racist abuse of three Black players who missed penalties in England’s shootout loss to Italy in the European Championship final.

The Metropolitan Police condemn the “unacceptable” abuse of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Sako, and say they will be investigating the “offensive and racist” social media posts published soon after Italy won Sunday’s shootout 3-2 after the match ended 1-1.

The English Football Association says it is “appalled” by the “disgusting behavior,” adding that social media companies should take action to make their platforms free from this “abhorrent” abuse.

England’s Marcus Rashford reacts after failing to score a penalty during a shootout at the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. Italy defeated England 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)

“We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible,” the FA says. “We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.”

All three players targeted are part of a young England squad that has been widely praised for its diversity and social conscience. Rashford, for one, has been at the forefront of a campaign against child poverty, which convinced the British government to restore free lunches for thousands of poor children amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Though British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves,” he has faced criticism for emboldening those booing the England team for taking a knee before their matches to protest against racial injustice.

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