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 Four arrested over online abuse of England players

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Four people have so far been arrested in connection with online abuse directed at England players, the UK Football Policing Unit said on Thursday.

Investigations continue into abusive posts targeting Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka after England’s defeat on penalty kicks to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

A statement issued on Thursday read: “Following England’s defeat against Italy on Sunday a torrent of racist comments aimed at some of the team’s black players appeared on platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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“A hate crime investigation is underway by the UKFPU, with a dedicated team of investigators working their way through a large number of reports from across the country.

“So far, dozens of data applications have been submitted to social media companies and four people have been arrested by local police forces.”

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council football policing lead, said: “The racial abuse aimed at our own players following Sunday night’s game is utterly vile.

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“It has quite rightly shocked and appalled people across the country.”

On Wednesday Greater Manchester Police confirmed a 37-year-old man from Ashton-upon-Mersey had been arrested after social media posts were directed towards England players following Sunday’s match.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the Government was extending the scope of football banning orders to include online abuse.

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Banning orders exclude people from attending matches for between a three and 10-year period.

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