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England's Football Association has condemned racist social media attacks targeting soccer players following Sunday's loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
Italy defeated England on penalty kicks, 3-2 after the game remained tied, 1-1 through extra time. England's Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who are Black, missed penalty kicks and were almost immediately subjected to racist abuse on social media following the game, including monkey emojis, slurs and taunts to "get out my country."
FA 'appalled' by 'disgusting behaviour'
The FA — English soccer's governing body — released a statement Sunday evening castigating the social media abuse.
"The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media," the statement reads. "We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.
"We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible."
Racist abuse toward soccer players throughout Europe is nothing new. U.S. soccer players have also been targeted. English players have taken a pregame knee throughout Euro 2020 as a statement against racism and discrimination. The act has been met with a mix of cheers and boos from fans in the stands.
FA calls out social media platforms
The FA vowed on Sunday to seek punishment for fans engaging in racist abuse. It also urged social media companies to take responsibility.
"We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible," the statement continues. "We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.
"Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse."
The FA and Premier League joined a four-day boycott of social media across English sports in April to raise awareness of persistent online racism targeting athletes.
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