Euro 2024: English FA to help police clamp down on social media abuse of England players

DUSSELDORF, Germany (AP) — England’s Football Association says it is providing funding to help police clamp down on online abuse at Euro 2024.

At the last European Championship, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were subjected to racial abuse on social media after missing penalties in England’s shootout defeat to Italy in the 2021 final.

The FA has stepped up efforts to ensure abusers are brought to justice and said it is providing around 25,000 pounds ($32,000) to help police.

“Now we are doing things differently,” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said. “In the past what we did was put together all the data, effectively an evidence pack, to give to the police to prosecute, but this time we have gone a stage further where we are actually funding within the British police a unit that will then prosecute.”

Measures are also being taken to avoid or clamp down on trouble from England supporters in other areas at the monthlong tournament in Germany, which kicks off on Friday.

“Officers from the U.K. are continuing to work closely with German police to support a safe and trouble-free Euro 2024 tournament,” the U.K. Football Policing Unit told The Associated Press on Thursday.

There have been numerous incidents of trouble involving English fans in the past. While security concerns at the European Championship are not limited to England supporters, potential problem areas involving those following the Three Lions have been identified.

Fans have been urged by police to be “good guests” and respect German culture. And ahead of England’s opening game against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday, UEFA said only low alcohol beer will be served at Veltins-Arena.

There have been concerns that English fans could repeat an often-sung chant about World War II in Germany.

While it has not been specifically referenced by police, supporters have been urged to be respectful.

“We would urge any fans travelling to be mindful and aware of the local culture and be good guests,” the U.K. Football Policing Unit said. “Wilfully acting in a way to cause offense could result in a heightened risk to your personal safety, and German police will take action against those breaking the law. This action can include heavy fines and custodial sentences.”

The England-Serbia game has been deemed high risk by UEFA.

It is, so far, the only group game slated to serve low alcohol beer.

“The local organisers and police decided to only allow the sale of beer with reduced alcohol percentage (light beers),” UEFA told The AP. “The police in Gelsenkirchen also do not want to allow fans to bring their cups to their seats for matches in that venue. There is no such restriction in any of the other venues.”


AP soccer:

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