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50-year-old man convicted and fined after posting racist rant against three England players after Euro 2020 final | Football News

A man convicted of posting racist abuse about England players on social media on the night of last July’s Euro 2020 final has been found guilty.

Shortly after England lost to Italy at Wembley, Reading native Hugh Laidlaw, 50, posted an offensive image and comment on Metal Detecting UK’s Facebook page aimed at three players who missed penalties in a shootout. Posted.

In Reading Magistrate’s Court, Laidlaw was found guilty of sending offensive messages over a public communications network. He was sentenced to his eight-week custody sentence with his 12-month probation. He was also ordered to pay a fine of £1000, costs of £775 and a surcharge of £128.

After the post was published, Laidlaw was reported to police by a member of the Facebook group. Laidlaw, who was questioned by police, claimed he accidentally shared what he thought was a funny post after a few drinks and tried to pretend his account had been hacked to distance himself from his posts. did.

Senior Prosecutor Benjamin May of the Crown Prosecutor’s Office said: “Hugh Laidlaw’s hateful and racist post is a direct attack on England players and disgusted those who shared it. I was upset.

“Racist abuse will not be tolerated. As this case has shown, offenders can be brought to justice when offensive content is reported to police and legal tests are met. increase.”

Douglas McKay, chief sports prosecutor for CPS, said: “Over the past few months, there has been an increase in hate crimes related to sporting events.

“At CPS, we play a key role in tackling these crimes and making national sports inclusive and safe to watch. There is no place for hate in football, and hate crimes like this are damaging. It makes a big impact on people.”

A shocking report released by FIFA and FIFPRO in June found that more than half of the players in the recent Euro 2020 and AFCON finals had been abused online before, during and after matches. It became clear.

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Former West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand is not surprised by the scale of abuse targeting players after a FIFA investigation found that more than half of the players in the Euro 2020 and AFCON finals were abused online. says.

Homophobic abuse was the most common, followed by racism. World Football’s governing bodies have not named, but Sky Sports News understands that the most abused players in the Euro 2020 final were Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford. doing. The spot when England lost to Italy on penalties at Wembley last July.

In both competitions, most of the abuse came from the home countries of the targeted players, with 38% from the UK and 19% from Egypt after February’s AFCON final penalty shootout loss to Senegal. .

In response, FIFA and FIFPRO, the global organization representing professional footballers, have said they will launch dedicated tournament moderation services across men’s and women’s football during this winter’s World Cup. , when detected, hides the comment from the recipient and their followers. ”

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