A man from north-western England was spared jail time on Wednesday after pleading guilty to posting racist abuse on social media against three black England footballers who missed penalty shots in the European Championship final in July.
The Crown Prosecution Service said Scott McCluskey, 43, of Cheshire, posted the comments about Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after England lost to Italy in a penalty shootout.
McCluskey told police he smoked marijuana on the night of the final and posted the comments to make people laugh.
He said he did not realise his comments would be considered racist, and he deleted them after seeing the response from other social media users.
At Warrington Magistrates' Court, District Judge Nicholas Sanders sentenced McCluskey to 14 weeks in prison but suspended it for 18 months.
McCluskey was also given an electronically monitored curfew on Saturdays and Sundays for 40 weeks.
“Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health,” Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Elizabeth Jenkins said.
“The (Crown Prosecution Service) takes this kind of offending very seriously and this case shows that where offensive content is reported to the police, we can successfully bring offenders to justice.”
At least 11 people have been arrested in connection with widespread racist abuse directed at the three players after the final, the UK Football Policing Unit. said.