A British football fan was Wednesday handed a suspended jail term for posting racist comments on social media blaming three black players for England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
Scott McCluskey, 43, from Runcorn, northwest England, singled out Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho in an abusive Facebook message after they missed their penalties in the final shootout.
He admitted a single charge at Warrington Magistrates Court of sending an offensive or abusive message by a public communication network, and said he was “deeply ashamed” of his actions.
He was handed a 14-week jail sentence, suspended for 18 months and ordered to 30 days of rehabilitation work on racism and diversity overseen by the Probation Service.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders told McCluskey: “This sort of online abuse seems to have gained some sort of traction in our society and it is entirely unacceptable.
“It is something which has the capability to cause real harm not just to individuals such as the three footballers concerned but to wider society as a whole.”
McCluskey’s arrest followed police investigations into messages directed at some of England’s black players after the Euro final defeat in July.
The UK football Policing Unit in August said it had identified 207 potentially criminal posts, 123 of which were sent from accounts outside Britain.