Prince William has been comforting the three black England footballers subjected to racist abuse after missing penalties
- Prince William went to the dressing room at Wembley to commiserate the squad
- William is said to be ‘sickened’ by ‘unacceptable and abhorrent’ racist abuse
- Also liaising with FA about how social media firms can be used to tackle abuse
The Duke of Cambridge has been comforting the three black England footballers subjected to vile racist abuse after missing penalties in the Euros final shoot-out against Italy.
Prince William went to the dressing room at Wembley to commiserate with the squad after their defeat last Sunday and has since been ‘in touch’ with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka who were targeted by online trolls.
A source said William – who said he had been ‘sickened’ by the ‘unacceptable and abhorrent’ racist abuse – has also been liaising with the Football Association about how pressure can be put on social media firms to do more to tackle the issue.
A Palace source told The Mail on Sunday that William’s ‘focus has been on supporting the players’ and there had been ‘private conversations’
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 emerged the three players had been racially abused, he said: ‘It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable.’
A Palace source told The Mail on Sunday that William’s ‘focus has been on supporting the players’ and there had been ‘private conversations’.
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 me, Marcus and Jadon have received,’ he wrote.
‘I knew instantly the kind of hate I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.’
Tackling racism in football and wider society is a cause close to William’s heart.
Three years ago he demanded tech firm bosses do more to block those who spout online abuse. In a speech at the BBC, he accused social media companies of arrogance, saying: ‘Their self-image is so grounded in their positive power for good that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems they are creating.’
Despite revulsion at the latest abuse, more than 80 per cent of the Instagram accounts identified as trolling the England players remain active, according to the Centre for Countering Digital Hate.
Despite revulsion at the latest abuse, more than 80 per cent of the Instagram accounts identified as trolling the England players remain active
MP Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: ‘What are Instagram playing at? The fact most of these accounts are still active makes you think they just don’t give a damn.’
Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: ‘We’ve continued to remove abusive comments since the final on Sunday. No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.’