What brought on the racist abuse after the final?
Racist abuse has given the Euro 2020 football championship final a bitter aftertaste. After three young black members of the England team failed to score in the penalty shoot-out against Italy, they were targeted with a slew of racist abuse online. Calls for violence against black people led to several assaults, according to media reports.
Disinhibited by Brexit
The condemnation of the racist incidents by Prince William, the English Football Association and the British prime minister is not enough, Libération warns:
“It is no longer sufficient given that Boris Johnson deliberately tolerated the spread of an intolerable climate. Such racism has long been present in English football. But in the last five years it has reached another level as a result of Brexit. This seismic event in British and European history has opened the floodgates. It has reinforced the feeling that it is okay to be openly racist, combined with rhetoric about the superiority of the English. No doubt Boris Johnson - had the miracle happened and England emerged victorious - would have found a way to link Brexit with the European Championship title.”
British government shares the blame
Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have paved the way for the current aberrations, criticises The Guardian:
“The prime minister helped enable this squalid postscript to a wonderful few weeks. On the eve of Euro 2020, Mr Johnson refused to condemn spectators who booed the players for 'taking the knee' before games. His home secretary, Priti Patel, also defended the right to boo, and expressed her personal hostility towards 'gesture politics'. ... The mood music from the top of government gave cover to a racist minority, some of whom seized their moment in the aftermath of defeat.”
When not even William and Kate are good losers
The royal family also set a bad example, La Stampa complains:
“Their political task is to be a role model to look up to. ... Seen from that angle, the royal family has committed the first mistake of fair play. At the end of the game they adopted an attitude of mourning, as if they were attending a funeral. William, Kate and little Prince George clasped in a tight embrace, with sombre faces full of despair. ... As if they were witnessing a heartbreaking death. But they were at Wembley Stadium watching a football match. Such a match is important, very important - but it's still only a football match. The Queen would never have made such a mistake.”
Tolerance still a long way off
For how long will racist incidents remain a regular occurence in football, asks the Tages-Anzeiger:
“It is an unpleasant end to a beautiful European Championship. And one that once again makes us doubt the learning ability of all humanity - not just that of the British. The outrage was already great when Italian striker Mario Balotelli was pelted with bananas at the 2012 European Championship. ... But there has been no improvement. On the contrary, what came together at this European Championship in an atmosphere already charged by Brexit and the pandemic has exceeded the worst expectations. Death threats, hate messages, this concentrated crudeness and contempt for people: this is not football folklore but unacceptable - and in extreme cases an issue for the judiciary. ... [This shows] unequivocally how long the path to tolerance still is.”