Football: I knew the kind of hate I would get, says Saka on racist abuse

LONDON (AFP) – England winger Bukayo Saka told social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook they must do more to stamp out racial abuse after being targeted in the wake of his Euro 2020 final penalty miss.

After the 19-year-old’s spot-kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma to seal Italy’s triumph at Wembley on Sunday (July 11), the Arsenal star was targeted by trolls online along with teammates Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who also missed penalties.

“To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received this week,” Saka said in a post on Twitter on Thursday (July 15).

“I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive, and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.

“There is no place for racism or hate of any kind in football or in any area of society and to the majority of people coming together to call out the people sending these messages, by taking action and reporting these comments to the police and by driving out the hate by being kind to one another, we will win.

“Love always wins.”

Saka had been one of England’s breakout stars as the Three Lions reached a first major tournament final for 55 years.

Yet there was a sour end to his Euro experience.

After Rashford hit the post, Donnarumma saved from Sancho and then Saka to crown Italy champions and condemn England to another heartbreaking loss on penalties.

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“There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you,” wrote Saka, who is likely to be part of Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad for Qatar 2022 in just 16 months’ time.

“I’m sorry that we couldn’t bring it home for you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we’ve got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win.

“My reaction post match said it all, I was hurting so much and I felt like I’d let you all and my England family down.

“But I can promise you this… I will not let that moment or the negativity that I’ve received this week break me.”