Portsmouth FC and the Football Association have launched an investigation amid claims a number of the club’s academy players racially abused England stars in a group chat leaked on social media.
The screenshot, widely being shared online today, shows ‘discriminatory’ comments allegedly made by youth players at the League One outfit.
The messages, which appear to have been sent in a Snapchat conversation, joke about lynching and bombing the three black players who missed their penalties in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final with Italy
Furthermore, there is a suggestion that people should send Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka death threats, alongside a monkey emoji. The N-word is also used.
It is not clear if the messages do originate from an academy group chat, and the Hampshire based club is now investigating.
In a statement posted on its website, Portsmouth FC said: ‘[We] are aware of images circulating on social media that allegedly originate from an academy u18 group chat and which are discriminatory in nature.
‘The club have launched an immediate investigation and will provide an update once this has been completed.
‘Portsmouth Football Club strongly condemn racism and are totally committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in our game or society as a whole.’
Portsmouth owner Michael Eisner added on Twitter: ‘There is no place for hatred or bigotry of any kind at Portsmouth FC or any other organization with which I’m affiliated. We won’t tolerate it, and there will be appropriate consequences for anyone who engages in racist behavior in social media or elsewhere.’
The FA were also alerted to the messages and have launched a probe alongside the club investigation.
Portsmouth FC has launched an investigation after a number of its academy players allegedly abused England stars in a group chat leaked on social media
Saka, Rashford and Sancho were subjected to widespread racist abuse on public social media platforms following Sunday’s defeat.
The Football Association condemned the abuse and said it would do all it could to support the players affected.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told those who had abused England players to ‘crawl back under the rock from which you emerged’, and discussed the matter with social media companies on Tuesday.
Ahead of those discussions, a Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister would ‘reiterate the urgent need for action’ and for the platforms to assist police investigations seeking to identify those suspected of perpetrating abuse.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, pictured with teammate Raheem Sterling, received abuse after missing penalties in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy
But Number 10 also had to issue a defence of Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel over their earlier responses.
Football banning order will cover online racism
Boris Johnson today announced that online racists will be banned from football matches after a wave of vile abuse of England stars.
The Prime Minister told MPs that the government is toughening up the football banning order regime as he clashed with Keir Starmer over his stance on the national team ‘taking the knee’ before matches.
The Labour leader attacked Mr Johnson at PMQs demanding to know if he regretted branding the anti-racism symbol ‘gesture’ politics.
He jibed that the premier had been focused on fighting a ‘culture war’ but had now realised he was on the ‘wrong side’, with outrage at more than a thousand racist tweets targeted at the trio who missed penalties in the Euros final.
Mr Johnson replied: ‘I repeat that I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night, and so what we’re doing is today is taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning order regime is changed, so that 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.’
Aston Villa and England defender Tyrone Mings accused the Home Secretary of having managed to ‘stoke the fire’ in the tournament by claiming the team’s taking of the knee against racism was ‘gesture politics’.
Number 10 said Johnson opened a meeting of his Cabinet on Tuesday by condemning the racist attacks players were targeted with after Sunday’s match.
‘He said the abuse was utterly disgraceful and had emerged from the dark spaces of the internet,’ the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.
Support for the England players has continued to be shown across the nation, with a petition to permanently ban racists from football matches passing a million signatures in just two days.
Shaista Aziz, Amna Abdullatif and Huda Jawad created the petition on Monday, calling for the FA and Government to work together to ban ‘all those who have carried out racist abuse, online or offline, from all football matches in England for life’.
The trio of campaigners, who call themselves The Three Hijabis due to their heritage and dress, have seen their petition go viral.
‘To go over one million… we feel validated in our resistance to racism and that what we have been able to articulate is the sentiment that is held nationwide,’ Jawad, a feminist and anti-racism activist, told the PA news agency.
The Labour Party has also said courts must be given new powers to ban anyone convicted of online racist abuse from football matches.
On Tuesday night, hundreds of people took the knee beside a repaired mural of Rashford in a show of support for the striker.
Around 200 people including some with signs reading ‘Black Lives Matter’ made the symbolic gesture beside the recently vandalised artwork in south Manchester.
Last night, hundreds of people took the knee beside a repaired mural of Rashford in Withington in a show of support for the striker
The mural was defaced within hours of England’s loss to Italy, in what police are treating as a racist incident.
Artist Akse P19 has since repainted his monochrome depiction of the England player.
Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has said he believes Saka will quickly bounce back from the racist abuse he has received.
The 19-year-old’s club manager told Sky Sports he had personally spoken to Saka after England’s Wembley heartbreak, saying: ‘Yes, I have. We all have, I think, spoken to him, sent messages. He will be fine. He is such a strong character.
‘He has received a lot of love and support from world football, not only with Arsenal but the national team and all the English fans because he doesn’t deserve anything like he has been through.’
Hampshire Constabulary has been approached for comment.