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Portsmouth investigates academy players into allegations of racist abuse against England

The club issued a statement in response to the controversial images of a U18 group chat currently doing the rounds on social media

Portsmouth are investigating allegations that a number of their academy players targeted racist abuse against members of the English group following their final 2020 defeat against Italy.

England lost their first European final on penalties to Italy on Sunday, with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missing from 12 yards to give the Azzurri their sixth international title.

The Three Lions trio were targeted by social media trolls after the game, and Portsmouth are now caught up in the controversy as football authorities continue to grapple with the issue of online racism.

What claims were made against Portsmouth?

Images surfaced on social platforms allegedly showing screenshots from a Portsmouth U18 group chat using racist language.

Offensive photos are also visible in the posts, which come from the popular multimedia messaging app Snapchat.

Portsmouth’s answer

Portsmouth responded to the allegations against their academic stars by launching an internal investigation.

“Portsmouth Football Club is aware of the images spread on social media that allegedly came from an academic U18 group chat and which are discriminatory in nature,” reads a statement about the club. Official Website read.

“The club has investigated immediately and will provide an update as soon as it is completed.

“Portsmouth Football Club strongly condemns racism and is completely committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in our game or society as a whole.”

The FA’s position on racism

The English Football Association has released its own statement after England’s defeat against Italy, and condemned the actions of those responsible for the racist abuse at Rashford, Sancho and Saka, while urging the government and social media companies to do more to protect players online.

“We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and are upset about the online racism directed at some of our English players on social media,” the statement said. “We could not have been clearer that someone behind such disgusting behavior is not welcome to follow the team.

“We will do everything in our power to support the players affected, while insisting on the most severe penalties possible for all those responsible. We will continue to do everything in our power to prevent discrimination from the game, but we urge the government to act swiftly and enact legislation so that this abuse has consequences in real life.

“Social media companies need to act and take responsibility and take action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that could lead to prosecution and support to free the platforms from this kind of heinous abuse.”

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