England's Bukayo Saka slams social media giants: I knew the hate I was about to receive

Footballer said he didn’t want anyone else to be targeted by the kind of messages he and team-mates had received

One of the England football players targeted with online racist abuse after his team’s European Championship final defeat condemned social media companies on Thursday for doing too little to block “hateful and hurtful” messages on their platforms.

In comments directed at Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Bukayo Saka said he didn’t want anyone else to be targeted by the kind of messages he and Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho received after the three black players missed penalty kicks during the shoot-out that ended Sunday’s game against Italy.

“I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that (it) is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages,” Saka, 19, wrote on Instagram. “There is no place for racism or hate of any kind in football."

The UK Football Policing Unit is investigating potential hate crimes linked to the online abuse. Four people have been arrested, said the National Police Chiefs Council.

“We are working very closely with social media platforms, who are providing data we need to progress enquiries,’’ said Chief Constable Mark Roberts, of Cheshire police, who leads football policing nationwide.

“If we identify that you are behind this crime, we will track you down and you will face the serious consequences of your shameful actions.”

There was widespread crime and disorder during and after Sunday’s match. As of Tuesday, authorities around the country had made 264 arrests linked to 897 incidents, police chiefs said.

Updated: July 15th 2021, 7:30 PM