Police have said they do not think that abusive graffiti on a mural of England footballer Marcus Rashford was of a racial nature.
Officers are keeping an open mind over the motive for defacing the artwork in Withington, Manchester, following England’s penalty shootout loss to Italy in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
No arrests have been made as CCTV footage continues to be reviewed and forensic test results from the spray paint used are awaited.
Superintendent Richard Timson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “On Monday morning when we saw the damage done to the mural in Withington we were all left appalled, and we stand with the rest of the community whose solidarity against this vile abuse ever since has really shown the best of our city.
“The person responsible for this knows who they are and we believe there will be others who also suspect the identity of this offender, and I therefore urge anyone with such information to get in touch to help progress our inquiries at speed.”
Police were called to reports of the damage in Copson Street at about 2.50am on Monday.
The word “f***” was scrawled over the huge artwork and the words “shit” and “bastard” were also written beside the word “Sancho”.
Artist Akse P19 has since repainted his monochrome depiction of the England and Manchester United player, while protestors gathered on Tuesday evening to show their support for Rashford.
Rashford and his teammates Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho, who all missed penalties on Sunday, were targeted with racist abuse on social media after the game.
Anyone with information about the mural vandalism should contact police on 0161 856 4973 quoting incident 453 of 12/07/2021. Details can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.