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Euro 2020: Archer, Stokes, FA hit out at racist trolls, police probes

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London, July 12 (IANS) Cricketers Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes have appealed to fans to not racially abuse Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who all missed penalties during England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy even as the country’s Football Association (FA) expressed “disgust” at racist trolls taking potshots at the trio.

England lost the final to Italy 2-3 in penalties after the regulation time score had ended 1-1. While Harry Kane and Harry Maguire converted the first two penalties for England, Rashford, Sancho and Saka — who are all players of colour — missed the remaining three penalties.

“Do not racially abuse those players tonight!,” tweeted pace bowler Archer a few hours after the final as trolls on social media began abusing the players.

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Archer himself is a Barbadian representing England.

Team-mate Ben Stokes, who is leading England in the ongoing ODI series against Pakistan, quote-tweeted Archer and wrote, “Retweet” urging fans to retweet it.

England FA also backed its players and tweeted, “We are 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.

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“We stand with our players,” it added.

The football’s governing body in England also issued a statement saying, “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.

“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” the statement added.

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London’s police service, the Metropolitan Police has said it is investigating the “offensive and racist social media comments”.

“We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the #Euro2020 final,” it said in a tweet.

“This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated.”

England team manager Gareth Southgate had earlier backed his players, especially Saka and said the 19-year-old was not alone.

Southgate tweeted, “It’s so important that he knows he’s not alone [emoticons: red heart, lion face].”

He also took responsibility for giving the three players the task to take penalty kicks.

“That is my responsibility. I chose the guys to take the kicks. I told the players that nobody is on their own in that situation. We win and lose together as a team. They have been tight throughout and that’s how it needs to stay,” Southgate said later.

“It is my decision to give (Saka) that penalty. That is totally my responsibility. It is not him or Marcus or Jadon. We worked through them in training. That is the order we came to. Marcus and Jadon have been by far the best in the lead-in. It was a gamble [to bring them on’, but if we gamble earlier we maybe lose the game in extra time.”

–IANS

kh/akm

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