Investigation into racist message finishes

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Portsmouth have confirmed three of their academy members have been released after racist messages from a group chat involving the trio circulated on social media.

The aforementioned messages are believed to have included pictures targeted at England trio Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, with the discriminatory images circulating shortly after England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

? Portsmouth FC can confirm that three players have been released from the academy following the conclusion of a disciplinary process#Pompey

— Portsmouth FC (@Pompey) July 28, 2021

Portsmouth immediately announced they would be launching an investigation in a bid to locate the source of the messages, and two weeks on from the announcement the club have now taken to their official website to confirm three Under-18 players have been released.

“Portsmouth Football Club can confirm that the investigation – and subsequent disciplinary process – into discriminatory messages that originated from an academy Under-18s private group chat has now concluded,” the statement read.

“We can confirm that a decision has been made today [July 28] to release three players from the academy. These players do have the right to appeal the club’s decision. Portsmouth Football Club are fully committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination.

“We are part of a diverse community and are dedicated to promoting an environment of equality and inclusion at all times – both inside the football club and in our wider society.

“We also continue to respectfully appeal for everyone’s consideration in their use of social media posts directed towards any of the club’s employees and any other external parties.”

Portsmouth have released three academy players

Portsmouth have released three academy players / Phil Cole/Getty Images

As of yet there has been no word on which three players were involved in the incident, though it’s hoped that the League One club’s decision to act quickly and decisively will help send the message to others that discrimination at any level of the game will not be tolerated.

Portsmouth will now look to put the incident behind them as they prepare to kick off their 2021/22 League One campaign against Fleetwood on 7 August.