The English football fans have yet again, lived up to their reputation and misbehaved. At Wembley, at the 2020 Euro final after Italy defeated England on penalties, not only were there unruly scenes in the aftermath but also racial abuse directed at players.
19-year-old Bukayo Saka has been subjected to massive amount abuse on social media because of his skin color, and as were his other teammates who are either black or brown and missed penalty kicks.
The horrific comments, including the use of monkey emojis and racist language such as n****r , have led to the FA asking the government to take action.
After the game ended, English players gave comfort to Saka, who was born in the London area from Nigerian parents who moved to England as economic migrants. Fans on social media, and particularly in England, sounded off.
While Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored, the next three shots were taken by darker-skinned teammates - Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Saka.
Sancho and Saka's shots were blocked by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Rashford's hit off the left upright of the goal and didn't go in. Italy scored two goals in their final three shots to take their first Euro title since 1968.
What Did the FA Say?
The FA said in a statement it was “appalled” by the abuse of the three players. The team had taken a knee before games at the Euros to signal their support for an end to racial inequality, and the young, multi-ethnic squad won the hearts of the football-mad country before the shootout failure brought out all-too-familiar messages of hate.
"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."
The England team also released a statement condemning the abuse directed at its players on social media.
"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," the team tweeted.
London's Metropolitan Police also said it was investigating “offensive and racist” messages on social media.
UEFA Action Before Final
This wasn’t the first instance of fan misbehaviour at Wembley and UEFA took action on the eve of the final, handing the FA a fine of 30,000 euros for incidents during the semi-final game against Denmark.
The English fans had jeered not only their own players’ gesture of taking the knee but also the Danish national anthem, setting of fireworks too. The home fans, during the course of the semi-final, reportedly assaulted Danish women and insulted children too. They were also guilty of flashing a laser beam at Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel’s eyes when he a penalty was being taken.
(With inputs from AP and Reuters)