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09th Sep 2021

Cheshire man sentenced for racist abuse of England players after Euro 2020

Charlie Herbert

Cheshire man sentenced for racist abuse of England players after Euro 2020 final

Scott McCluskey said he posted the comments to make people laugh

A man from Cheshire has admitted posting racist abuse about England players after the Euro 2020 final this summer.

Scott McCluskey, who lives in Runcorn, admitting a charge of Sending by a Public Communication Network an offensive message after appearing at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

He was sentenced to 14 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

The 43-year-old had been watching the final between England and Italy with his partner and son, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

But after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed their penalties in the shootout, McCluskey posted racist comments on his Facebook page about the trio.

His remarks were met with shock and condemnation from his friends on the social media site. Some, the CPS, said called his comments “absolutely disgusting,” “blatant out and out racism” and “disgraceful”.

McCluskey’s comments were reported to the police.

He later told officers that he had not been drinking on the night, but had smoked cannabis, and had posted the comments to make people laugh, adding that at the time he did not think they would be considered racist.

It was only after the negative reaction from his friends that McCluskey realised his words may be offensive, deleting the comments shortly after.

District Judge Nicholas Sanders described his comments as a “foul offence which has far-reaching consequences”.

Along with the suspended prison sentence, the judge ordered McCluskey to do 30 days of rehabilitation activity. McCluskey will also be given an electronically monitored curfew on Saturdays from 9am to midnight and Sundays from midday to midnight for 40 weeks.

He must pay one of the victims £100 compensation, costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £128.

Senior District Crown Prosecutor Jo Lazzari, of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “This offending is described as ‘Hate Crime’ and the CPS treats these offences with the utmost gravity because they attack the very essence of the victim and affect the whole community.

“As shown by the public response to this defendant’s actions, racism has no place in our society and will not be tolerated in any form.”

Lazzari thanked one of McCluskey’s Facebook friends for reporting the abuse.

She said: “One such person saw the status and was taken back to issues with racism she experienced as a child and felt angry, upset and disappointed at having seen such a message in her own home.”

The CPS has said it is working with the police, clubs, player bodies and organisations such as the Premier League and EFL, to explain what evidence it needs to charge people for racist abuse.

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Elizabeth Jenkins, CPS national lead on football, said: “There is no room in the game, nor elsewhere, for racism. Where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest we will prosecute such cases and seek an increased sentence on conviction.

“Hate crimes such as these have a massive impact on players and their mental health. The CPS takes this kind of offending very seriously and this case shows that where offensive content is reported to the police we can successfully bring offenders to justice.”

Related links:

Portsmouth sack three players for racist messages about Rashford, Sancho and Saka

11 arrests made in investigation of racist abuse towards England players

Vast majority of racist Euros final tweets came from UK, analysis reveals