Racist trolls who abused black players on social media after England's Euro Final defeat branded 'sickening' by Preston campaigner

Online racist abuse aimed at three England players after last night's Euro Final defeat has been condemned as "horrendous" by a Preston campaigner in football.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 3:45 pm

Adrian Murrell, who works in schools with the FA and Preston North End to tackle racism, attacked the online trolls as "appalling" and called on the social media companies to launch a crackdown.

The founder of the Windrush Initiative CIC joined a loud chorus of condemnation after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received an avalanche of hate mail after missing spot-kicks in the penalty shoot-out.

"I was talking to kids in one Preston primary school today and the first thing they wanted to discuss was what had happened to those three footballers," said Adrian.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jadon Sancho is comforted by manager Gareth Southgate after the penalty shoot-out nightmare at Wembley.

"The encouraging thing is that children at that age just don't understand why it is happening, they just don't get it. They thought it was horrendous and so did I.

"Before the game I was apprehensive what might happen if England lost. I was worried for the black players. And as soon as those three penalties didn't go in I thought to myself 'they are going to get it tomorrow.'

"But the racists didn't wait until tomorrow, minutes after the game they went on social media to abuse them. It saddens me and it sickens me at the same time.

"Social media companies can do a lot more to prevent this. Surely they can find out these people's accounts and take action.

Adrian Murrell described the racist abuse as "sickening."

"Something needs to be done. If those guys weren't trying and didn't care then maybe I could get it. But they were representing the country of their birth and doing their best."

Adrian's football initiative is called "Altogether As One" and he takes it around schools with PNE to highlight racism in sport.

After youngsters at Lea Endowed Primary School took part today, teacher Rosie Bolton said: "The programme has been fantastic for my Year 6 children, they have grown as individuals putting the values of respect, tolerance and hope into a meaningful context. I am so proud of how they have emerged as citizens of the future.

"Their shock and disgust at the racial abuse suffered by the black players at the end of the Euro Final shows how they can recognise racism and their desire for change paves the way for a hopeful future."

It had all started so well with Like Shaw's opener for England after less than two minutes.

Adrian added: "Sadly this isn't anything new. But you would think that in 2020/21 it would have died down a little bit. But it doesn't seem to have."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the abuse dished out to the players, describing it as "appalling."

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

The FA issued a statement saying: "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."

The Metropolitan Police said it was investigating the abuse and added: "It will not be tolerated."