Anti-racism petition gains 1 million signatures following abuse of England players

An anti-racism petition to ban those who have carried out racist abuse, online or offline, from all football matches in England for life has gained over one million signatures.

The petition was created in response to the online racist abuse towards England players Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho following the team's penalty shootout loss to Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final.

The sides drew 1-1 after extra time, and Italy won the shootout 3-2. Rashford, Sancho and Saka missed spot kicks and were subjected to abuse on social media.

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- Lewis Hamilton condemns racist abuse of England trio

Meanwhile, a mural dedicated to Rashford in Manchester after his work in campaigning for free school meals for the most vulnerable of children in Britain, was vandalised.

The one million benchmark was reached on Wednesday morning. The UK Government is not obligated to respond to petitions on Change.org. After 10,000 signatures made on petitions through the official gov.uk website, the UK Government is officially required to respond, while after 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in Parliament.

"As multi-racial football fans, we finally feel represented by this anti-racist and inclusive England team," the creators of the petition, Shaista, Amna and Huda said on Change.org, the website that hosts petitions.

"We could not be more proud or inspired by our magnificent team and by their talent, bravery, leadership and love for all. Gareth Southgate's England team plays for ALL of us.

"Their vision is an inclusive vision and this matters more than EVER -- it's why we feel proud of this team and why they're so cherished and loved by many of us.

"There should be no room for racists and bigotry in football or society. Our England team stood up for all of us -- now we must stand up for them."

The racist abuse has already been condemned by England's Football Association and UEFA, as well as many clubs, players and influential figures in England. England manager Gareth Southgate also condemned the abuse, describing it as "unforgivable."

Social media platforms have been warned they must take action over the racist messages sent to England's Black players following the defeat on Sunday or they would face consequences.

The Times reported that the government wants the platforms to provide details of those who made racially abusive comments.

"We need to ensure that those platforms take action and if they don't, the government will take action against them," Stephen Barclay, chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News.