Duke of Cambridge 'sickened' by racist abuse of England players and says perpetrators must be held to account

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch the Euro 2020 final at Wembley - JOHN SIBLEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch the Euro 2020 final at Wembley - JOHN SIBLEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Duke of Cambridge has said he is "sickened" by the "abhorent" racism aimed at England's football players as he called for the perpetrators to be held accountable.

Prince William, 39, watched the Euro 2020 final at Wembley with the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George, said it was "totally unacceptable" that the players had to endure such behaviour.

England football players Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were all subjected to racist abuse online after missing penalties as England was defeated by Italy.

The trio's social media pages were quickly flooded with racist comments, leading the Prime Minister and the FA to also condemn the "disgusting behaviour".

Gareth Southgate said the racism was "unforgivable," adding: "It's just not we stand for."

The Metropolitan Police vowed to investigate.

Boris Johnson tweeted: "This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves."

As president of the Football Association, the Duke has been vocal in his support of the campaign to stamp out such behaviour, previously warning that social media companies must do more to prevent the spread of “despicable” racist abuse after several footballers were targeted by anonymous trolls.

Bukayo Saka is consoled by Kalvin Phillips and Luke Shaw after the team's fifth penalty was saved - Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images
Bukayo Saka is consoled by Kalvin Phillips and Luke Shaw after the team's fifth penalty was saved - Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

In a personal tweet posted on Monday morning, he wrote: "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. W"

Home Secretary Priti Patel also said she was "disgusted" by the "vile" racist abuse players aimed at the players.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted that he "shared the anger" of the "appalling racist abuse" towards the "heroic" England team.

In April, the Duke joined a landmark three-day boycott of social media to highlight racism and abuse in sport.

The action, led by English football, was organised in protest of the failure of tech firms to prevent discriminatory and other offensive abuse on social media.

He said in January that “we all” had a responsibility to eradicate such abuse and create an environment in which it was no longer tolerated.

The Duke’s repeated interventions will heap pressure on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to clamp down on anonymous social media trolls.

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