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Man arrested after allegedly posting racist abuse on Facebook following Euro 2020 final

Written by on 19 July 2021

A man who allegedly posted racist abuse in a Facebook video after the Euro 2020 final has been arrested, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The suspect, aged in his 50s and from Hounslow, west London, was detained on Saturday.

He was later released under investigation as enquiries continue.

Since last Sunday’s final between England and Italy, a number of people have been arrested over their alleged social media posts.

England's Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford (right). Pic: AP Image: England’s Jadon Sancho (L) and Marcus Rashford (R) suffered online racist abuse after the final. Pic: AP Bukayo Saka Image: Bukayo Saka was also targeted online

England lost in a penalty shootout 3-2 at Wembley Stadium, with three black players, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, suffering racist abuse on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram after missing their spot kicks.

The social media abuse prompted the government to announce football banning orders will be changed to cover online racism.

The prime minister said the change will mean “if you are guilty of racist abuse online of footballers then you will not be going to the match”.

“No ifs, no buts. No exemptions and no excuses,” he told the Commons.

However, both Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have been accused of “stoking hatred and division” over their responses to the issue of England players taking the knee before matches to protest against racial injustice.

Banning orders allow magistrates to stop individuals from going to matches in the UK if they are convicted of relevant offences, but currently do not cover incidents online.

They can last between three and 10 years and are largely imposed for violent and public disorder offences.

A post on Twitter by the Metropolitan Police on Sunday said: “We’re working to identify and arrest those responsible for criminal behaviour linked to Euro2020.

“A Hounslow man who posted racist abuse in a Facebook video after the Euro2020 final was arrested on 17 July. The man, aged 50s, was released under investigation as enquiries continue.”

A petition calling for racists to be given lifetime bans from matches has garnered more than one million signatures, making it one of the most signed online petitions ever.

There has been an outpouring of support from the public for Rashford, Sancho and Saka, with hundreds of fans gathering to leave messages at a mural of Rashford in Manchester after it was defaced by vandals.

As of 13 June, 897 football-related incidents and 264 arrests had been recorded across the country in the 24-hour period surrounding the final, according to the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit.

That took the number of football-related incidents during the tournament to 2,344, and arrests to 630.

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