Euro 2020: Volunteer ditched at Havant and Waterlooville FC for 'discriminatory' social media posts after England loss

ANTI-RACIST campaigners have condemned widespread abuse of three black England players that has disgusted members of a community left fearing for their safety.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 4:38 pm
Updated Monday, 12th July 2021, 5:14 pm
Havant and Waterlooville FC. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Havant and Waterlooville FC. Picture: Habibur Rahman

England stars Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka have faced racist abuse online after failing to score penalties at Wembley Stadium against Italy.

The side’s captain Harry Kane and Harry Maguire both netted – with abuse on social media centring around Rashford, Sancho and Saka being black.

Among those aiming abuse at the players was a volunteers at Havant and Waterlooville FC who has been removed from duties after posting ‘discriminatory’ messages after the Euro 2020 final.

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Midia Medina. Picture: David George

Portsmouth Black Lives Matter member Midia Medina, 28, said welcomed the ‘swift action’ but said the abuse has left her and other black people in fear to leave their homes today.

She said: ‘We’re feeling a lot of feelings but shock and surprise is not one of them and that’s the problem.

‘I’m not surprised it’s happening so close to home.

She said the widespread abuse of Rashford, Sancho and Saka has been ‘disgraceful’.

Anita Anongu from Waterlooville at a Black Lives Matter protest in Portsmouth. Picture: David George

Midia said she and other black people she has spoken with ‘don’t feel safe’ to leave their own homes today.

‘You just don’t know the one person who might take it too seriously and do something stupid,’ she said.

‘On a personal level I don’t feel safe outside, I’m not going outside today.

‘I feel uncomfortable about who’s out there – who’s going to go and do something today? It might be me or someone else so I’m not taking the risk.’

Midia said a viral post on Snapchat said people would be awarded ‘100 points for lynching’ a black person, 50 for rape and 500 for breaking into a black person’s house.

‘How is that okay?’ she said. ‘I know a lot of people will say that’s disgusting.

‘How is that allowed to be on social media and be reposted so many times?

‘The N-word is the biggest trending word on Twitter – but god forbid we say anything that’s too aggressive and do anything because it’s “angry black people” once again.’

None of this has left Midia or others in the BLM movement defeated. She said such racism is why England players took the knee before each match – despite being booed.

‘Every time they do something like this it keeps the fire going for us, it keeps us fighting,’ she said.

She anticipated the racism the moment the players did not score their penalty shots.

‘It was the first thing I saw this morning when I woke up,’ she said.

‘When I watched the game and saw what happened I thought “let’s see what happens tomorrow and there will be abuse”.

‘More needs to be done and at this point what can be done? I don’t know.

‘We’ve talked about the players should boycott the World Cup but that’s their livelihood – their home club might end their contracts with them.’

She said if that happened it would be once again ‘black people to sacrifice their jobs, livelihood’ in taking a stand against racism.

BLM member Anita Anongu, 53, from Waterlooville said: ‘I'm disgusted with the treatment these boys are getting but not surprised sadly – so much so that I didn't go to sleep until 4am because I already knew there would be racist attacks because for some reason as soon as someone black or brown does or doesn't do something, all hell breaks loose.

‘Doesn't surprise me that a local person has been sacked, I'm shocked that someone has had the conviction to do it.

‘I'm so sad that after living with this abuse it’s still such an issue 50 years later.’

Criticism of the Hawks volunteer’s social posts has forced the National League South side’s boss to speak out.

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Stuart Munro, chief executive of Havant and Waterlooville FC, said: ‘We can confirm that we are in receipt of social media posts of a discriminatory nature made by a club volunteer last night. We are deeply saddened and offended by the comments made, which we strongly believe have no place in society.

‘We have taken immediate action and I can confirm that the volunteer in question has been removed from all duties at the club permanently.

‘Under no circumstance do Havant and Waterlooville FC tolerate racially charged or discriminatory behaviour, whether online, within our stadium or our community.’

The Football Association and prime minister Boris Johnson have condemned those who racially abused black players in the wake of England’s loss last night.

Home secretary Priti Patel tweeted: ‘I am disgusted that @England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media.’

Asked last month about the anti-racism protest where England players take the knee before matches, she told broadcaster GB News: ‘I just don't support people participating in that type of gesture politics.’

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