Punishment of football fans for sending racist messages about England players



A football fan was jailed in Britain on Wednesday for making racist comments on social media, blaming three black players for Italy’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final in Britain.

Scott McCluskey, 43, of Rinkorn, northwest England, shot Marcus Rashford, Bokayo Saka and Judon Sancho in a disgusting Facebook message after they missed their fines in a shootout.

He pleaded guilty in Warrington Magistrates’ Court to sending an insulting or abusive message by a public communications network, saying he was “extremely ashamed” of his actions.

He was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered a 30-day rehabilitation work on racism and diversity under the supervision of the Probation Service.

District Judge Nicholas Sanders told McCluskey: “It seems that such online abuse has gained some attention in our society and is completely unacceptable.

“It’s something that has the potential to do real harm not only to individuals like the three footballers involved, but to society as a whole.”

McCluskey’s case came as former footballer Anton Ferdinand called on social media companies to take immediate action to end racial abuse, and warned that online hate could be deadly.

The former Western ham defender, 36, told British lawmakers he was examining the government’s plan to tighten online security laws on the nature of social media addiction.

He told a parliamentary committee in evidence that it “creates a mental health problem”.

“My concern is what are the social media companies waiting for? Are they waiting for a high profile footballer to kill himself, or for someone in his family to commit suicide?”

“Are they waiting for that? Because if they’re waiting, it’s too late,” he said, accusing the companies of playing a good game but failing to act.

Last week, England duo Rahim Sterling and Jude Bellingham were targeted by monkeys during the national team’s 4-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Hungary in Budapest.

McCluskey was arrested after a police investigation into messages from some of England’s black players following their defeat in the Euro final in July.

The UK Football Policing Unit said in August that it had identified 207 possible criminal posts, 123 of which were sent from accounts outside the UK.

While at QPR, Ferdinand himself was at the center of a racist controversy with Chelsea’s John Terry in 2011.

Terry was cleared of wrongdoing in court but was banned for four matches by the Football Association.

Ferdinand advised on Wednesday that technology should be used as much as possible to prevent the sending of potentially inappropriate messages, and that anonymous online accounts should be banned.

He added that there is a need to understand more about the experience of racism within the higher echelons of social media companies.

She was backed by former England women’s international Lian Sanderson, who told lawmakers she had faced online racism, homosexuality and sexual abuse.

Former England U-21 player Marvin Sordell said misuse of social media – and weak restrictions – was one reason he left the game at just 28 years old.

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