England players briefed by police over anticipated racist abuse at Euro 2024

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England’s international players have met with police recently to discuss the threat of online racism ahead of Euro 2024.

Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were targeted after the Three Lions’ final defeat in 2021 against Italy after they missed their penalties at Wembley.

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It led to a nationwide campaign in support of the players and steps have since been taken to prosecute offenders more efficiently.

The chief constable for football policing in England and Wales Mark Roberts says a meeting was held at St George’s Park in March, a few months before the next tournament is due to take place in Germany.

He said: “We’ve explained [to the players] that we are there to support them.

“We’ve given them some advice on how they can protect themselves with setting up their own accounts to try and prevent it happening, and to reassure them that we are there.

“If people do engage in this behaviour we will deal with it and, where possible, we will prosecute.

“It’s really depressing when you see some of the abuse meted out to our black players in particular – so we’ve done a lot of work with the social media companies.

“We were at a stage when it was taking upwards of six months for them to give us the details we need. It’s a lot more positive now and we get good support from them.

Over 300,000 fans are expected to travel overseas from the UK for Euro 2024 and a record number of British police officers are expected to assist in managing the event.

Roberts has issued a warning saying fans who misbehave could face arrest or fines and that people should be sensible and not get carried away.

He added: “The most recent tournaments – the World Cups in Qatar and Russia – there were challenges about getting there, both financially and logistically, so this is the first one that’s been really accessible since France [in 2016].

“The Germans are really well-organised. There’s always concerns going into the tournament.

“It’s impossible to rule out every contingency, but if you wanted a host that’s got a grip of it, then you wouldn’t look much further than Germany.”

 

Mitch Fretton
Mitch Fretton
Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.

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