• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Euro 2024: England players meet police over racism concerns


England players have engaged with police officers regarding the threat of online racism during Euro 2024, with assurances that any abuse faced during the tournament will be treated seriously.

The briefing comes in light of racist incidents against Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho following their missed penalties in the final of the 2021 championship at Wembley.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the national lead for football policing in England and Wales, emphasized that prosecuting racist offenders has become more feasible due to increased cooperation from social media companies.

“We’ve conveyed to the players that we stand ready to support them,” Roberts stated, noting that officers briefed the squad at England’s St George’s Park training base in March.

“We’ve provided them with advice on safeguarding themselves by setting up their accounts to mitigate such incidents, while also reassuring them of our support. Should individuals engage in such behaviour, we will address it and, where possible, pursue legal action.”

Roberts’ remarks coincide with preparations for the largest deployment of British police officers to an overseas tournament in over a decade, anticipating hundreds of thousands of fans travelling next month.

Acknowledging the persistence of racist abuse, particularly against black players, Roberts highlighted collaborative efforts with social media companies to expedite investigations.

“Previously, obtaining necessary details could take upwards of six months. However, the process is more streamlined now, enabling swift actions and potential prosecutions.”

Addressing potential offenders, Roberts emphasised accountability: “Those who believe they can remain anonymous while engaging in such behaviour will be mistaken – we will identify them.

“I urge them to consider the consequences before typing, as a moment of recklessness can result in severe repercussions, including job loss or expulsion from university.”

Looking ahead to the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany, Roberts anticipates over 300,000 UK fans travelling, emphasizing adherence to public order laws and decorum.

While acknowledging past concerns and incidents, Roberts expressed confidence in the host country’s organization and security measures.