Harry Kane has told those who racially targeted some of England’s players after the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy “we don’t want you” while boss Gareth Southgate described the abuse as “unforgivable”.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all subjected to abusive posts in the wake of their missed penalties in the shoot-out.
Figures within the sport, from the Government and even the Duke of Cambridge were united in their condemnation for the abuse, and Three Lions captain Kane said on Twitter: “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up and take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support and backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you.”
Southgate said: “For some of them to be abused is unforgivable really.
“I know a lot of that has come from abroad, that people who track those things have been able to explain that, but not all of it.
“It’s just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.
“We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together. We heal together as a team now, and we’re there for them, and I know that 99 per cent of the public will be as well.”
Midfielder Jude Bellingham, who made three substitute appearances in the tournament but did not feature in the final, labelled the abuse “hurtful but not surprising” and insisted he will “never get bored of saying that more needs to be done”.
Defender Reece James posted: “We learn more about the society when we lose, far more than we learn when we win.”
The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the Football Association, said he was “sickened” by the abuse.
“It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour,” he wrote on Twitter. “It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable.”
Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand highlighted that the players who missed would have been idolised by those who abused them had the result gone the other way.
He tweeted: “These same idiots only days ago would have been celebrating the brilliance of a (Raheem) Sterling or a Saka or a (Kyle) Walker for their efforts in an England shirt. You can bet ya last pound also that they would have sung the Raheem Sterling song almost bursting the veins in their bodies doing so.
“But England lose and that joy and sense of being united immediately evaporates and our black players become the target.”
Anti-discrimination body Kick It Out and players’ union the Professional Footballers’ Association again called on social media companies and the Government to stamp out the abuse on online platforms.
Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett said: “The social media companies need to do more to stamp out abuse on their platforms, and the Government also need to step up and keep its promise to regulate.”
He added: "The Online Safety Bill could be a game changer and we aim to help make that happen.”
The PFA said in a statement: “Social platforms must permanently ban all offending accounts and proactively compile evidence to give to the police to pursue prosecution.”
Twitter said it had proactively removed more than 1,000 posts over 24 hours which violated its policy and also taken swift action to permanently suspend a number of accounts.