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Prince William has been ‘in touch’ with England players after sickening racist abuse

Messages of support after Marcus Rashford's mural is defaced

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The future king comforted Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho after they received vile racist abuse after missing their penalties against Italy. The Duke of Cambridge visited the entire England squad in the dressing room at Wembley Stadium right after the defeat in the penalty shoot-out. He commiserated the whole team then but has also remained “in touch” with Saka, Rashford and Sancho.

A source close to Prince William said he was “sickened” by the “unacceptable and abhorrent” racist abuse.

On top of that, the Duke of Cambridge has been discussing the situation with the Football Association as to how they can put more pressure on social media companies to tackle the issue.

In a statement after the defeat in the final, which Prince William attended with his wife Kate and son Prince George, the future king said: “It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable.”

A Palace source told the Mail on Sunday that “the focus has been on supporting the players” and “there had been private conversations”.

Bukayo Saka, 19, also wrote an emotional plea last week.

He said: “I don’t want any child or adult to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received.

“I knew instantly the kind of hate I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”

Prince William has been campaigning to tackle racism for many years.

Three years ago he demanded that tech companies do more to block people who spread racial abuse on social media.

The Duke of Cambridge said: “Their self-image is so grounded in their positive power for good that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems they are creating.”

However, despite all the campaigning, more than 80 percent of the Instagram accounts responsible for trolling the England players remain active, according to the Centre for Countering Digital Hate.

MP Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “What are Instagram playing at? The fact most of these accounts are still active makes you think they just don’t give a damn.”

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Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: “We’ve continued to remove abusive comments since the final on Sunday.

“No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.”

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