Itoje condemns racist abuse of England stars

Lions star Maro Itoje condemns racist abuse of England stars Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford as well as hitting out at ‘appalling’ violent scenes among fans that marred build up to Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy

  • England rugby union international Maro Itoje is on tour with the Lions
  • The lock watched the Wembley European Championship final in South Africa
  • Itoje sent out message of support to England’s Bukayo Saka after the game
  • Saka was racially abused after missing a crucial spot-kick against Italy 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

Lions lock Maro Itoje has strongly condemned the violent scenes and racist abuse at Wembley on Sunday night.

Itoje watched England’s final against Italy on TV in South Africa, before sending a message of support to Buyako Saka after he missed the last penalty.

Itoje described the behaviour that unfolded as ‘appalling’ and reiterated the need for action to be taken.

Maro Itoje watched the Euro 2020 final from South Africa where he is on tour with the Lions

‘It’s appalling,’ said Itoje. ‘I think, quite frankly, the behaviour of a fraction of the fans throughout the day wasn’t very good from what I was picking up over here in South Africa, through people storming the stadium. It’s a shame that a fraction of fans literally spoil the occasion for everybody else.

‘There’s a large proportion of fans that went to Wembley, who bought their ticket, who are great football fans and did their piece.

‘But they were ruined by a large amount of people who were racially abusing some of the black players, those brave individuals who stood up to take those penalties.

Bukayo Saka missed the decisive penalty kick for England in their defeat by Italy

‘It’s just incredibly sad to hear, sad to see; it’s sad that we even have to have this conversation in 2021 and this is a large amount of the reason why so much talk is about racism in sport because these incidents happen on a semi regular basis.

‘It’s become clichéd to say this but we need to do more. We need to do more to tackle it, we need to do more to get these types of people out of the stadium.

‘We need to do more to tackle this type of football culture that ruins it for a large amount of people. The England football team inspired the nation and inspired people all across the globe.

‘I had people in Nigeria singing, “It’s Coming Home!” ‘They inspired so many people, so for that to be tarnished by some of the behaviour and the abuse that we’ve seen is very disappointing.’

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