The UK prime minister and the Football Association have condemned racist abuse aimed at England’s Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka after the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy.
All three players missed penalties in the 3-2 shootout loss and were targeted on social media after the game.
The Metropolitan Police is investigating the abuse and said “it will not be tolerated”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the abuse “appalling”.
“This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media,” he said.
“Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
England’s players have taken a knee before games at the Euros to highlight the fight against racial inequality.
The FA said it was “appalled” by the “online racism” of the three players following the defeat at Wembley.
It added: “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.
“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.
“Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”
Rashford highlighted racial abuse he received on social media in May after losing the Europa League final with Manchester United.
And last year Sancho was among sport stars protesting against racism following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Social media companies have been criticised for a perceived lack of action on racist abuse on their platforms, and in April Instagram announced a tool to enable users to automatically filter out abusive messages from those they do not follow.
Following numerous instances of online abuse, a number of clubs, players, athletes and sporting bodies took part in a four-day boycott of social media in April to encourage companies to take a stronger stance against racist and sexist abuse.
Article Source: BBC