Lineker slams BBC programme’s social media joke labelling football fans racist

Gary Lineker has hit back at BBC programme ‘Have I Got New For You’ after they made a joke labelling all football fans racist.

Several England players were subjected to racist abuse online following the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford all missed in the penalty shootout and were subsequently targeted after the contest.

It has served to shine a light on the problem within football with one individual being arrested for his online abuse.

The BBC show has addressed the situation on Twitter, saying: “Amid calls to ban racist football fans from grounds indefinitely, clubs argue they’d struggle to survive with attendances of 12.”

Bukayo Saka was among those to be racially abused after the Euro 2020 final

Lineker though has hit back insisting the racist abuse is dished out by the minority – not the majority.

He said: “Joke or not, this is wide of the goal. The vast majority of football fans deplore the racism of the tiny, very tiny, minority.”

The BBC anchor, who led the coverage of the Euros, also addressed the players who’d been subjected to racism online.

He said: “The reaction by the @England players following the racist abuse has been measured, intelligent and dignified. These young men are a fine example to all of us. Proud of each and every one of them.”

Gareth Southgate was quick to condemn the abuse and called on the country to remain united following the team’s efforts on the pitch.

“It’s just not what we stand for,” said the England boss.

“We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.

“We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together.

“It’s my decision who takes the penalties, it’s not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out.”

The FA echoed that statement as they released a statement that read: “We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and are appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.

“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.

“We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.

“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.

“Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making the platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”

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