Fresh arrest made over social media racist abuse of England footballers

A man has been arrested over the racist abuse of England players on social media following Sunday’s Euro 2020 final defeat.

Greater Manchester Police said the 37-year-old from Ashton-Upon-Mersey was arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Malicious Communications Act, after he went to Cheadle Heath police station on Wednesday morning.

He remains in custody for questioning.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were subjected to a torrent of racist abuse on social media after they failed to score in the penalty shoot-out against Italy on Sunday.

Detective Inspector Matt Gregory, of GMP’s Trafford division, said: "The actions of a small number of people overshadowed what was a hugely unifying event for our country on Sunday evening.

"We are firm in our commitment, any racist abuse whether online or off is not acceptable."

It follows the arrest of a man on Tuesday by police investigating a racist tweet aimed at Rashford.

West Mercia Police said the 50-year-old, from Powick, near Worcester, was detained on suspicion of inciting racial hatred following reports of an inappropriate tweet posted on Sunday.

The man, who was not named by police, has since been released under investigation.

Inspector Pete Nightingale, from Worcester police station, said: "We encourage people to make these reports and are pleased with the speed at which we have been able to deal with this incident.

"We continue to work with the local football community and have links with the local clubs to ensure that this behaviour is dealt with appropriately."

Other England players, manager Gareth Southgate, the Football Association and politicians including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have condemned the online abuse which is being investigated by police.

There has been an outpouring of support from the public for the trio, with hundreds of fans gathering to leave messages at a mural of Rashford in Manchester after it was defaced by vandals.

The PM has said he is "taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning order regime is changed" to cover online racism.

However, both Mr Johnson and Ms Patel have been accused of "stoking hatred and division" over their responses to the issue of England players taking the knee before matches to protest against racial injustice.

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