England manager Gareth Southgate has condemned racist abuse, saying it is “unforgivable”.
England’s Gareth Southgate says racist abuse ‘unforgivable’ in response to a scandal that has engulfed the national football team.
Gareth Southgate has called the racist abuse directed at some England players after their loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final “unforgivable” and “not what we stand for.”
After missing penalties in the shootout, which Italy won 3-2 at Wembley, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford were all attacked on social media.
The Football Association and Saka’s club Arsenal both released comments denouncing the abuse on Monday morning, before Southgate met reporters via Zoom in a post-game debrief after England’s agonizing loss in their first tournament final in 55 years.
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“I’m not completely up to date on everything, but my first thoughts this morning are with the lads who have performed so well for us,” Southgate said.
“The players have shown tremendous unity and spirit, which I believe has brought people from all across our nation together.”
“They should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished, and I believe they are.” It’s unforgivable that some of them have been mistreated. I’m sure a lot of it came from outside the country.
“Such who keep track of those things were able to explain it.” However, not all of it is true. And it’s not something we believe in. I believe we have been a shining light in bringing people together, in allowing people to connect to the national team, and in ensuring that the national team represents everyone.
“That unity must continue, and we’ve shown the strength of our nation when we join together and share that energy and optimism.” That was communicated to us by the supporters, and I am very proud of the players.
“We needed to win the game in 120 minutes.” We were a little short at that time, therefore it’s up to me to decide who takes the penalty. It isn’t a matter of players refusing to participate or more experienced players withdrawing. That was my decision, not anybody else’s.
“It was my choice to give the players the penalties they received.” I still have a lot of faith in them. Those guys did an outstanding job, and we are now healing as a team. I’m certain that 99 percent of the general people will agree because they will recognize how well they’ve performed.
“Bukayo, in particular, has shone brightly throughout the competition. The maturity with which he has performed is astounding. So many people have smiled because of him. He’s become one of the group’s most popular members. I’m sure he has everyone’s support.”
Southgate’s position was mirrored by UEFA in a tweet that read: “UEFA condemns the deplorable racial abuse thrown at many England players on social media after the EURO final, which has no place in sport or society. We support the players and the English Football Association’s demand for the harshest penalties imaginable.”
Gareth Southgate says he has “great faith” in his players and stands by his penalty-taking choice. Pool/Getty Images/Paul Ellis
Southgate’s current contract, which ends after the 2022 World Cup, will be extended, according to FA chief executive Mark Bullingham, who said this before the round of 16 stage.
Southgate reaffirmed his commitment to take the squad to Qatar, but he declined to say if he would continue on beyond that in the role he has held since 2016.
When questioned about his future, he replied, “I don’t believe now is a suitable moment to think about anything.”
“Of course, we have to qualify for Qatar.” But I need to go away, watch last night’s game again, and think about the whole tournament. I’m in desperate need of a break. It’s an incredible experience, but leading your nation in these games wears you out, and I’m ready for a break.
“I stated at the time that having such inside backing [from the FA] was fantastic.” As a manager, you place a high value on it, but there is a lot to consider. It has nothing to do with money or commitment.
“I never want to commit to anything longer than is necessary, and I never want to overstay my welcome.” So, before even considering sitting down and chatting, all of those factors must be considered. However, as I sit here now, I’d like to be leading the squad to Qatar. Over the last four years, I believe we’ve made progress.
“We’ve finished fourth [in the 2018 World Cup], third [in the 2019 Nations League], and second [in the 2019 Nations League].” Except for those who have won tournaments, it is probably as good as any other squad in Europe. But it’s right up there in terms of consistency.
“We’ve done a lot of things well, and we know this team isn’t at its top yet, but it doesn’t mean we’ll win because we know how tough it is to go back to where we were last night, which is why getting so close is so heartbreaking.”
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