Police brief England stars on how they plan to deal with online abuse ahead of Euros

UK

England players have been briefed by police on action to deal with racist abuse on social media ahead of the European Championship.

Mark Roberts, the head of UK football policing, revealed today that he explained the reporting mechanisms to the men’s squad preparing for the tournament in Germany.

He said: “We were keen to speak to the players, to make them aware we are committed to this. We treat it seriously.”

Image:
England’s Marcus Rashford missed a penalty in the Euro 2021 final shootout. Pic: PA

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were targeted by racist online posts after missing penalties in England’s defeat to Italy after the Euros final in 2021.

Mr Roberts, who is also chief constable of Cheshire Police, said: “If people think they can hide behind the keyboard … we will pursue it, we will prosecute people.

“We do find a lot of the offenders are abroad. We don’t give up on that.”

One of the challenges was gathering information on accounts from social media companies within the six-month time limit to prosecute offenders under the Malicious Communications Act but police say they are now receiving that more quickly.

More on England Football Team

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A Marcus Rashford mural was vandalised after the Euro 2021 final defeat. Pic: PA

During the meeting at England’s St George’s Park base in March, police also advised players on protecting themselves online.

Mr Roberts said: “You can apply certain filters to your own social media accounts to try to prevent some of the stuff getting through.”

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England’s opening Euro 2024 match is in Gelsenkirchen against Serbia on Sunday 16 June.

They face Denmark four days later in Frankfurt before completing the group in Cologne against Slovenia on Tuesday 25 June.

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