Former Shropshire councillor fined over racist posts about England footballers after Euro 2020

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received racist abuse online after missing penalties during the Euro 2020 tournament Credit: PA

A former Shropshire councillor has been fined more than £1,000 for making racist comments about England football players on social media.

Paul Bradbury, 64, who was a member of Pontesbury Parish Council in Shropshire, posted discriminatory remarks on Facebook about footballers who missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final on July 11 last year.

He admitted one count of sending a grossly offensive message online and was ordered to pay a total of £1,150 in fines, costs and victim surcharges at Telford Magistrates’ Court in Shropshire on Friday (March 4), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Bradbury’s posts were reported to West Mercia Police, which conducted an investigation and referred the case to the CPS.

The ex-councillor initially claimed his Facebook account had been hacked but later admitted under police questioning that he had written the posts.

England manager Gareth Southgate consoled Saka after the penalty shoot out Credit: Mike Egerton/PA

Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, Peter Love, thanked those who reported the posts which he said “caused offence” to local people.

He said: “At the time of his post, Paul Bradbury was not just a member of the public but an elected official in a position of trust within a tight-knit rural community.

“There is evidence that the posts caused offence to members of the local community.

“I want to thank the witnesses who came forward to report the offence.”

Douglas Mackay, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, said the force has seen a rise in reports of racist abuse associated with football.

Mr Mackay, who is also the CPS national sports lead prosecutor, said: “Hate crime has no place within society let alone sport.

“Recently we have seen an increase of reports in racist abuse connected to football and this is a development we are determined to play our part in cutting out."

He adds: "Last summer, the England team united the nation as they made their way through Euro 2020.

“Unfortunately, England’s success was overshadowed by a troubling spike in online racism directed towards a number of young black players.

“We saw this especially after the penalty shoot-out against Italy.

"If you see, read or hear of any offensive racist and homophobic language, please report it to the police who will investigate.

“And if our legal tests are met we will seek to serve justice through the prosecution of the perpetrators of these crimes as we have done with Bradbury.”

Bradbury was ordered to pay a fine of £923, legal costs of £135 and victim surcharges of £92.

The CPS said that without the racial aggravation factor, his fine would have been £336.