Prince William consoles England’s three black footballers who were racially abused

Prince William has comforted England’s three black footballers who have been victims of racial abuse after missing penalties

  • Prince William went to the dressing room at Wembley to feel sorry for the squad
  • William would be ‘sick’ of ‘unacceptable and abhorrent’ racist abuse racist
  • Also liaising with FA on how social media companies can be used to address abuse

The Duke of Cambridge has comforted England’s three black footballers who have been victims of vile racist abuse after missing penalties in the European Championship final against Italy.

Prince William went to the dressing room at Wembley to feel sorry for the squad after their defeat last Sunday and has since ‘contacted’ Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka who have been targeted by online trolls.

A source said William – who said he was ‘sick’ of the ‘unacceptable and abhorrent’ racist abuse – has also been in touch with the Football Association about how to put pressure on social media companies to do more to tackle the problem.

A Palace source told The Mail on Sunday that William “concentrated on supporting the players” and that there had been “private talks”.

The Prince is president of the FA and attended the final with the Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George. In a statement after it was revealed that the three players had been racially abused, he said: “It must stop now and everyone involved must be held accountable.”

A source at Palace told The Mail on Sunday that William “concentrated on supporting the players” and that there had been “private talks”.

In a plea last week, Saka, 19, called on the tech giants to step up their efforts. “I don’t want any child or adult to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I, Marcus and Jadon have received,” he wrote.

“I knew right away what kind of hate I was going to get and that’s a sad reality that your powerful platforms aren’t doing enough to stop these messages.”

Addressing racism in football and wider society is a matter close to William’s heart.

Three years ago, he demanded that tech company bosses do more to block those spouting abuse online. In a speech to the BBC, he accused social media companies of arrogance, saying: “Their self-image is so rooted in their positive power for good that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems that they create.’

Despite distaste for the latest abuse, more than 80 percent of Instagram accounts identified as trolling England players remain active, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

Despite distaste for the latest abuse, more than 80 percent of Instagram accounts identified as trolling the English players remain active

Despite distaste for the latest abuse, more than 80 percent of Instagram accounts identified as trolling the English players remain active

MP Julian Knight, chair of the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: ‘What is Instagram playing on? The fact that most of these accounts are still active makes you think they don’t care.”

Facebook, owner of Instagram, said: “We have continued to remove abusive comments since the final on Sunday. Nothing will solve this challenge overnight, but we are doing everything we can to protect our community from abuse.”

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