Football fan admits posting racist comments towards Rashford, Saka and Sancho after Euro 2020 loss

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all received racist abuse online after missing penalities. Credit: PA

A football fan has admitted posting racist comments on social media blaming black players for England's loss in the final of Euro 2020.

Scott McCluskey from Runcorn posted a message as a status update on his Facebook profile shortly after England lost in the final to Italy on 11 July.

It followed Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho missing penalties in the 3-2 shootout. The players were then targeted with racist abuse on social media.

McCluskey pleaded guilty to sending an offensive/abusive message by a public communication network at Warrington Magistrates' Court.

The 43-year-old was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months.

He has also been given 30 days of a rehabilitation activity and an electronically-monitored curfew on Saturdays from 9am to midnight and Sundays from 12noon to midnight for 40 weeks.

Credit: PA

Simon Green, prosecuting, told the court McCluskey's Facebook post was met with "condemnation and outrage" and was reported by someone who had themselves been affected by racism.

Mr Green said at the time of the posting "feelings were high" and there were already concerns about racist abuse online, particularly aimed at footballers.

Dave Robb, defending, said: "This is a 42-year-old man with no previous convictions who has admitted his guilt at the first opportunity."

District Judge Sanders said: "The reality is these posts were sadly widespread and attracted national condemnation, rightly - grossly offensive.

"And in terms of sentencing, the purpose of sentencing, not only should the court look at rehabilitation but also a deterrent sentence might be appropriate as well.

McCluskey claimed he had posted the message to make people laugh, saying, "it was a joke", and later deleted the post, but it was reported to Cheshire Police.

Chief Inspector Leeroy Moss, head of Runcorn Local Policing Unit, said: “Everyone is responsible for what they do and say, and posting a message on social media is no different.

“McCluskey’s comments were clearly racist and included a number of emojis which were directed towards specific England players.

“Thankfully the message was reported to us within hours of being posted and a full investigation took place.

“Hate crimes and online abuse are heinous crimes, which can have a significant impact on the people targeted and also our wider communities.

“As this case demonstrates, we treat this sort of offending extremely seriously and will do everything we can to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”