England fans gather in Stevenson Square after their teams defeat in the UEFA EURO 2020 final
England fans gather in Stevenson Square after their teams defeat in the UEFA EURO 2020 final
Photo: AFP

As England and Italy faced off in the Euro 2020 final, thousands across the world watched with bated breath. Both teams were angling to make history — while England had never before been in the European Football Championship, Italy's only prior victory had been during the 1968 edition. England's loss came as a blow to many, but off field, supporters took it several steps too far, hurling racist abuse at members of the team, attacking Italy supporters and more.

Videos shared online show purported fans tussling with each other, taking on rival supporters and more. According to one widely shared clip, an individual was even thrown into the Thames river in London. The objects of their rage are varied. While some punch each other and land blows accompanied by streams of invective, Twitter posts indicate that others have taken to "attacking Black people on the streets".

While it was not clear from the video when exactly the clip was taken, footage shows fans outside a stadium entrance, throwing things at the counter and jostling each other (with some even being thrown to the ground).

"So “football fans” are Attacking Black people on the street. Attacking England’s Black players. Attacking Italian fans. And the rates of domestic abuse increase by 38% when their team loses? This is why England football fans have the worst reputation. Mortifying and disgusting," tweeted actor and writer Jameela Jamil.

We feel compelled to mention here that all thoughts of the COVID-19 pandemic also appear to have been forgotten. Going by the visuals, masks were a scarce commodity and social distancing nonexistent on Sunday.

Many took to social media platforms to leave monkey emojis on posts by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after they missed penalties during the game. Others we're direct, leaving abusive comments on Instagram posts and more. In a statement of support for the players that was shared via Twitter, the official England Football Twitter handle said that they were "disgusted" by the behaviour online.

"We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences," reminded a statement by English football’s governing body, 'Football Association'.

The social media diatribe has also sparked off a counter-trend with hundreds tweeting out their support for the players in question. Many also attempted to drown out the wave of vitriolic comments with affirmations on Instagram posts. .

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Free Press Journal