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News

Police arrest 11 people over Euro 2020 final racist abuse

Marcus Rashford mural covered with messages of support after it was defaced in Withington, Manchester. (Reuters/Ed Sykes)

By: Sattwik Biswal

ELEVEN people have been arrested as police continue its hate crime investigation into social media messages sent after the Euro 2020 final.

After the England football team’s defeat in the final, UK Football Policing Unit received 600 reports of racist comments sent to the black players, out of which 207 have been judged to be criminal.

Police said of these 123 messages were posted by people overseas, while 34 came from the UK.

Racial slurs and abuses were aimed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after they missed penalties at the Euro 2020 final last month.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, National Police Chiefs’ Council Football Policing lead, said a “vast amount of work” went into identifying the 11 people arrested so far.

The majority of the arrests were on suspicion of malicious communications or breaching section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 – which includes sending messages which are “grossly offensive”, convey a threat or are “menacing”.

Malicious communications offences carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison, while a breach of section 127 can lead to a sentence of six months in jail.

BBC reports that details of the 123 foreign accounts would soon be passed on to their respective countries, as police are awaiting information from social media companies about the owners of the remaining 50 accounts.

“There are people out there who believe they can hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting such abhorrent comments,” Roberts was quoted as saying.

“They need to think again – we have investigators proactively seeking out abusive comments in connection to the match and, if they meet a criminal threshold, those posting them will be arrested.”

Those arrested include three people from London, two from Christchurch, Dorset, one from Runcorn, Cheshire, one from Sale, Greater Manchester, one from Folkestone, Kent, one from Reading, one from Shrewsbury and one from Worcester.

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