Police are today investigating the slew of racist messages sent to Marcus Rashford and his teammates after Manchester United’s defeat in the Europa League final – and vowed to bring the trolls to justice even if they live abroad.
The striker, 23, said he received ‘at least 70 racial slurs’ on social media following United’s loss to Villarreal in Gdansk – including abuse from a school teacher – with officers tracing the culprits in the UK and around the world.
Greater Manchester Police has also revealed that ‘numerous’ other players also received vile messages after they lost the final 11-10 in a penalty shoot-out – including ‘a mountain of monkey emojis’ sent to Rashford.
Police said they will hunt the culprits and take them to court, warning they will be ‘long-term implications to their personal and professional lives by making these comments’.
Assistant Chief Constable for Greater Manchester Police, Chris Sykes said: ‘We are aware of a number of racially aggravated social media posts made yesterday evening towards numerous Manchester United players.
‘We are working through the posts from yesterday, which originate from countries across the world as well as the UK, to investigate these crimes. Tackling hate crime remains a priority for GMP. We take these reports very seriously and are working with our partners to ensure those responsible are identified.
Marcus Rashford revealed he was racially abused after Man United lost Europa League final
Tyson Fury (left) and Lewis Hamilton (right) were among the sports stars to send messages of support to Rashford after he revealed he had at least 70 racial slurs sent to him on social media
‘Nobody should be subject to hateful language and abuse and it is deeply upsetting not only to those who receive these comments, but to anyone who witnesses it on a public forum. Those who make these posts subject themselves, not just to criminal proceedings but to long-term implications to their personal and professional lives by making these comments’.
Rashford, 23, said he received ‘at least 70 racial slurs’ on social media following United’s defeat in the Europa League final against Villarreal in Gdansk.
Rashford wrote on Twitter: ‘At least 70 racial slurs on my social accounts counted so far. For those working to make me feel any worse than I already do, good luck trying.
‘I’m more outraged that one of the abusers that left a mountain of monkey emojis in my DM is a maths teacher with an open profile. He teaches children!! And knows that he can freely racially abuse without consequence…’
Rashford also sent a thumbs up emoji to a user who said of the racist abuse: ‘You deserve it man you are awful.’
Boxing world champion Fury and Formula One star Hamilton both posted messages condemning the abuse.
‘Keep fighting the good fight @MarcusRashford, I stand with you my brother,’ Fury wrote on Twitter.
‘Racism needs to [be[ eradicated in all facets of life and sports. We go again, never give up #spartan.’
Hamilton, who has been an avid supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and spoken out about racism in sport on numerous occasions, said: ‘Hiding behind a screen and sharing racist abuse is unforgivable.
‘These people are not real fans, and should be held accountable. Stay strong and stand proud @MarcusRashford, we are all behind you on this.’
Tennis player Gael Monfils also offered his support to Rashford whilst sharing a racist message he had received on Instagram.
‘I feel you bro, here’s the latest example of what I received last night as well. #StopRacism.’
Rashford said he received a torrent of racist abuse when he opened up his phone, revealing that one such slur came in a direct message from a person claiming to be a maths teacher.
United later tweeted to say their players had been subjected to ‘disgraceful racist abuse’.
It is not the first time the England international has been the victim of abuse on social media. In January, Greater Manchester police investigated racist comments sent to him and several other players.
Rashford said he was outraged after discovering a maths teacher had sent him racist abuse
Last month, English football, along with other sporting bodies, united for a four-day social media boycott to urge the companies to take a stronger stance over racial abuse on social media.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this month that Instagram have launched a new tool to prevent players from seeing abusive messages after removing racist vitriol directed at Raheem Sterling.
Social media companies have been under huge pressure to reform their platforms in recent months due to the amount of abuse footballers and other sportspeople have received.
Speaking before Wednesday night’s incident, England boss Gareth Southgate praised the job players had done in highlighting abuse over the last year.
Southgate told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I do think there has been progress over the last year on the issue of racism because social media is just in general a poor reflection of what happens through society. But the reality is if it wasn’t social media these situations are happening on our streets at certain times.
‘(The players) have used their voice in a very positive manner, in particularly the last 12 months. We have to keep fighting racism.’
The United forward was left distraught on Wednesday after they lost to Villarreal on penalties