A mural of England and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has been vandalised following the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.
With the scoreline locked at 1-1 after extra time in Sunday’s showpiece event, penalties were needed to decide the winner of the European Championship.
Italy won 3-2 on spot-kicks as Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed, with all three players subsequently targets of racial abuse from online trolls.
What happened to Rashford’s mural?
In addition to the influx of hateful messages on social media, it has also been confirmed that artwork proudly depicting Rashford in Withington, Manchester was defaced after the game.
The Rashford mural was created by street artist Akse in partnership with community project Withington Walls, whose co-founder has expressed his disappointment.
Ed Wellard said of the vandalism that took place in the wake of England’s first major final appearance since 1966: “I’ve come out to fix what I could immediately and cover up what I couldn’t and hopefully we will get the artist out to come and fix it.
“We dared to dream yesterday and our hopes were dashed but to wake up to this is more depressing. Racism seems to be more and more prevalent.”
The FA’s response to racist abuse
The English football association has released a statement vowing to support Rashford, Sancho and Saka while calling on the government and social media companies to do more to stamp out online racism.
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” the FA statement read. “We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.
“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore the government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real-life consequences.
“Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”
What else has been said?
Former England full-back and United legend Gary Neville has also been among those to condemn the abuse aimed at three of the Three Lions’ most promising young stars.
Neville has even called out British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for failing to take the issue of racism in football seriously enough, telling Sky Sports : “The taking of the knee over the past month when the players tried to explain it to promote equality and be against racism was ridiculed by our top-ranking government officials.
“So when we get racial abuse after a football match at the end of a tournament, I expect it, unfortunately, because it exists and it’s actually promoted by the prime minister.
“I knew the minute Bukayo Saka, Rashford and Sancho missed last night, I knew we’d be waking up this morning to headlines of racist abuse.”