Bishop of Lancaster condemns racist abuse towards England players

The Bishops of The Church of England in Lancashire (Blackburn Diocese) have issued a joint statement condemning racist abuse directed towards England footballers in the wake of the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 10:46 am

Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; and Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley were joined in making the statement by Rev. Sarah Gill, Vicar of St Stephen's with St James' in Blackburn, who is the Bishop’s Advisor on UKME issues.

The joint statement said: "We stand with the Archbishop of York; Officers of the General Synod and with the England team in condemning racism in all its forms.

"Since 2016 Gareth Southgate has built a diverse and tightly knit team of young men who have worked tirelessly to achieve their own dreams and to fulfil the dreams of a nation; inspiring generations of fans with their footballing flair in the process.

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From left, Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, and Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley.
From left, Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, and Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley.

"Our Diocese covers most of Lancashire, one of the most beautiful and multi-cultural regions of the country.

"We join with people of good will in our County in challenging and calling out those who - through the spectre of racist abuse - choose to comment on the outcome of a football match based on colour of skin rather than character.

"They condemn no-one but themselves.

"We also call on the authorities - including social media companies - to ensure those who are responsible are held fully accountable for their shocking actions."