Man admits posting racist social media abuse of England players after Euros final defeat

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A man has admitted posting racist abuse about three black England footballers on the night of the Euro 2020 final.

Scott McCluskey, of Runcorn, Cheshire, was sentenced to 14 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, on Wednesday at Warrington Magistrates' Court.

The 43-year-old had been watching the match between England and Italy with his partner and son, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

He posted racist and insulting comments on his Facebook page about England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after they missed penalties in the shoot-out which led to Italy's win.

England's Marcus Rashford   during the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 soccer championship final between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021.
PIC:AP

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England's Marcus Rashford during the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 final against Italy

His offensive remarks were met with condemnation from his Facebook friends, with some referring to the status as "absolutely disgusting", "blatant out and out racism" and "disgraceful", the CPS said.

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McCluskey's comments were subsequently reported to the police.

He told officers that he had not been drinking alcohol on the night of the finals but had smoked cannabis.

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McCluskey also told police he had posted the comments to make people laugh, and at the time did not think that they could be considered racist.

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England manager Gareth Southgate (R) consoles Bukayo Saka after he missed a penalty

He said he only realised his words were offensive after the negative response and deleted it shortly after.

McCluskey pleaded guilty to a charge of Sending by a Public Communication Network an offensive message.

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District Judge Nicholas Sanders described his comments as a "foul offence which has far-reaching consequences".

The judge also ordered him to do 30 days of rehabilitation activity and he is also subject to an electronically monitored curfew on Saturdays from 9am to midnight and Sundays from midday to midnight for 40 weeks.

McCluskey must pay one of the victims £100 compensation, costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £128.

England's Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford (right). Pic: AP

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England's Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford (R). Pic: AP

The CPS applied for the sentence to be uplifted because of the Hate Crime element, which was accepted by the court, and the uplift made it punishable by custody.

Senior District Crown Prosecutor Jo Lazzari, of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: "This offending is described as 'Hate Crime' and the CPS treats these offences with the utmost gravity because they attack the very essence of the victim and affect the whole community.

"As shown by the public response to this defendant's actions, racism has no place in our society and will not be tolerated in any form."

The CPS has said it is currently working with the police, clubs, player bodies and organisations including the Premier League, the English Football League and the Football Association, to explain what evidence it needs to pass a threshold for charging people.

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Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Elizabeth Jenkins, CPS national lead on football, said: "There is no room in the game, nor elsewhere, for racism. Where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest we will prosecute such cases and seek an increased sentence on conviction.

"Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health. The CPS takes this kind of offending very seriously and this case shows that where offensive content is reported to the police we can successfully bring offenders to justice."

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