UK police confirmed on Thursday that they have made 11 arrests related to the racial abuse received by a trio of England stars who missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final against Italy last month.
After Italy secured their first continental crown since 1968 at Wembley on July 11, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka of England suffered racist abuse in the aftermath of their team's defeat.
The UK Football Policing Unit stated it has requested data from top social media companies in order to advance its investigation while passing on information to local police constabularies, which thus far have apprehended 11 people on multiple charges including malicious communications.
"There are people out there who believe they can hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting such abhorrent comments," said Cheshire Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who heads soccer policing for the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
"They need to think again."
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The unit revealed how out of 207 criminal social media posts identified, at least 123 accounts belonged to people off British shores, but their details are currently being shared with the foreign countries in question.
Furthermore, more information is awaited on the 50 remaining offending account holders.
Roberts added that the Football Policing Unit seeks "engagement" with the players abused, who will be offered support while their input is sought on the investigation plus any subsequent prosecutions.
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The three players attacked make up part of a diverse England squad that captivated a nation with its humble and socially conscious attitude, as Rashford spearheaded child poverty campaigns that took the UK's ruling Conservative government to task over free lunches for poor children during the school holidays at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Those arrested range from 18 to 63 years old and have all been released while currently under further investigation, or have posted bail under orders to head to court at a later date.
Condemned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the abuse also "sickened" Prince William, who is currently president of the English Football Association.