Portsmouth FC racism allegations: what has football club said after racist posts allegedly sent by U18 players?

Members of the academy squad allegedly directed racist abuse at the England players who missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final

General view of Portsmouth's Fratton Park. The club is investigating allegations that some of their academy players posted racist messages after the England game against Italy.
General view of Portsmouth's Fratton Park. The club is investigating allegations that some of their academy players posted racist messages after the England game against Italy.

Portsmouth are investigating allegations that racist messages were posted about England players in the club’s academy under-18s group chat.

Screen shots purporting to be from the chat following Sunday’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final were widely circulated on social media on Wednesday morning, and the League One club are now looking into the matter.

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At a glance: 5 key points

England's forward Marcus Rashford fails to score in the penalty shootout during the UEFA EURO 2020 final football match between Italy and England at the Wembley Stadium in London on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

- England lost the penalty shoot-out against Italy in the Euro 2020 final after misses from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka

- the three players were subjected to racial abuse online after the defeat

- a mural of Marcus Rashford in Manchester was defaced with racist comments. It has since been cleaned up and messages of support have been posted on it

- England defender Tyrone Mings accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of ‘stoking the flames’ after her comments about ‘gesture politics’

People look at the newly repaired mural of England footballer Marcus Rashford by the artist known as AKSE_P19, after it was defaced by vandals in the aftermath of England's Euros loss.

- in October 2020, Portsmouth FC were one of the first clubs to partner with Kick It Out and Facebook to launch a programme that delivered anti-discrimination education directly to fans, focusing on local schools, young people and supporters' groups.

What’s been said

A club statement read: “Portsmouth Football Club are aware of images circulating on social media that allegedly originate from an academy u18 group chat and which are discriminatory in nature.

“The club have launched an immediate investigation and will provide an update once this has been completed.

“Portsmouth Football Club strongly condemn racism and are totally committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in our game or society as a whole.”

Background

Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were subjected to racist abuse on public social media platforms following Sunday’s defeat.

The Football Association condemned the abuse and said it would do all it could to support the players affected.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told those who had abused England players to “crawl back under the rock from which you emerged”, and discussed the matter with social media companies on Tuesday.