Police investigate alleged racial abuse of Ashley Cole and Ashley Young on Twitter

Roy Hodgson and Gary Neville comfort Ashley Cole and Ashley Young after the pair missed their penalties against Italy. Photo: Reuters

Police have launched an investigation into the alleged online racist abuse of two of England's black football stars after they missed penalty kicks at Euro 2012.

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole and Manchester United winger Ashley Young were singled out on Twitter by one user.

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We are aware of alleged racist comments on Twitter following last night’s England game and have launched an investigation

In a series of postings the user responded to others who criticised him for his rants.

In one post the tweeter wrote: "All I got to say is this was just a joke, you guys need to relax, police know i was kiddin around and they won't bother me hopefully, cheers."

Another said: "The police won't bother me mate i can assure you that."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We are aware of alleged racist comments on Twitter following last night's England game and have launched an investigation.

"The allegation was made to MPS on 25 June by a member of the public relating to comments on a Twitter account supposedly based in London.

"No arrests at this early stage.

"The MPS is examining possible offences under Section 18/19 Public Order Act 1986."

The Football Association has issued a statement following the allegations:

We are concerned at the reports regarding allegations of abuse aimed at England players Ashley Cole and Ashley Young on Twitter.

They have just given everything for the national team at Euro 2012 and it is appalling and unacceptable that messages of an abusive type are being posted.

We support any police investigation in identifying who is behind this.