Arsenal have issued a strong statement after Bukayo Saka was racially abused following England’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final to Italy on Sunday night.

Bukayo Saka of England sees his penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma of Italy during the UEFA Euro 2020 final match at Wembley Stadium, London Copyright: Paul Chesterton
Bukayo Saka of England sees his penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma of Italy during the UEFA Euro 2020 final match at Wembley Stadium, London Copyright: Paul Chesterton

Bukayo Saka, the 19-year-old with practically no experience, was picked to take the fifth and most important penalty when more senior stars sat back and watched.

If reports are to be believed, this wasn’t a volunteer system. Gareth Southgate ordered his penalty takers based on how they had performed in training.

Because that’s the same as a high-pressure final, right?

As a result, when Saka missed his, meaning England’s wait for a major trophy would continue, it was inevitable that the worst of society would target him, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford. They rarely need encouragement to unleash their racist vitriol.

Early on Monday morning, Arsenal issued a statement condemning the abuse and supporting Saka.

“Last night, we saw Bukayo Saka reach the Euro 2020 final at the age of 19 years old,” Arsenal wrote.

“Bukayo has been with us since he was seven and the whole club couldn’t have been prouder to see him represent England throughout the tournament. You could feel it right across the club.

“Last night we witnessed the leadership and character we’ve always known and loved in Bukayo. However, this feeling of pride quickly turned to sorrow at the racist comments our young player was subjected to on his social media platforms after the final whistle.

“Once again, we are sad to have to say we condemn the racism of a number of black players. This cannot continue and the social media platforms and authorities must act to ensure this disgusting abuse to which our players are subjected on a daily basis stops now.

“We have processes in place internally at Arsenal to ensure our players are supported both emotionally and practically on this issue but sadly there is only so much we can do.

“Our message to Bukayo is: hold your head high, we are so very proud of you and we cannot wait to welcome you back home to Arsenal soon.”

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.