Sports

FA to fund police in investigation over online abuse to players

The English Football Association takes online bullying seriously and wants to avoid new attacks after Euro 2020 final incidents

The English Football Association (FA) will provide funding to the police to support the prosecution of individuals who attack English players on social media, stated the governing body’s chief executive, Mark Bullingham, ahead of the European Championship.

Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho were subjected to online abuse after missing penalties in the defeat to Italy in the final of the previous European Championship.

In 2022, a British teenager was sentenced to six weeks in prison for racially abusing Rashford after the final, while a man who live-streamed himself racially abusing the trio on Facebook was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison.

“In the past, what we did was gather all the data, essentially a package of evidence, which we would then give to the police for prosecution,” Bullingham told British media. “But this time, we’re going a step further because we’re actually funding a unit in the British police, which will then investigate.”

Mark Bullingham added that the funding will cost the FA around £25,000, but noted that the figure might change depending on the number of prosecutions.

England begins its Euro 2024 campaign with a Group C match against Serbia on Sunday, followed by games against Denmark on June 20 and Slovenia on June 25.

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