United Kingdom

Portsmouth release three academy players over alleged racist comments about England stars

The League One side began an investigation after images appeared on social media of posts from a private conversation among a number of under-18 players.

One message read: '[Marcus] Rashford is getting lynched,' while another said: 'All black ones missed.' Monkey emojis were also used.

Another wrote ‘houses are getting bombed’ and ‘death threats immediately’ while one said: 'F*** the n*****s absolute c****s.'

Disciplinary action was instigated once it was concluded there was a case to answer and as a result of that three youngsters have been released.

A statement from Portsmouth read: 'We can confirm that a decision has been made today to release three players from the academy. These players do have the right to appeal the club's decision.

One message read: '[Marcus] Rashford is getting lynched,' while another said: 'All black ones missed.' Monkey emojis were also used.

Racists bombarded Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jordan Sancho with abhorrent abuse after the trio missed their penalties during the Euro 2020 final

'Portsmouth Football Club are fully committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination.

'We are part of a diverse community and are dedicated to promoting an environment of equality and inclusion at all times - both inside the football club and in our wider society.

'We also continue to respectfully appeal for everyone's consideration in their use of social media posts directed towards any of the club's employees and any other external parties.' 

The three England players were bombarded with racist abuse online after missing their penalties.

Rashford's mural in Manchester was also defaced before thousands left supportive messages. The mural has now been repaired and the tributes are set to be preserved at a library and on a virtual 'Wall of Hope' 

Thousands left supportive messages on Rashford's mural in Manchester after it had been defaced

The abuse of the players was condemned by manager Gareth Southgate in the aftermath of the final.

He said: '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.

'It's my decision who takes the penalties, it's not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out.'

Prince William branded the abuse as abhorrent while Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden called on social media companies to do more regarding online abuse. 

The Duke of Cambridge tweeted: 'I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night's match.

'It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour.

'It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable.' 

Dowden added: 'I share the anger at appalling racist abuse of our heroic players.

'Social media companies need to up their game in addressing it and, if they fail to, our new Online Safety Bill will hold them to account with fines of up to 10 per cent of global revenue.'

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