Football chiefs have launched a strong attack on the online racist abuse of two of England's black football stars after they missed penalty kicks at Euro 2012.
Police are investigating after Chelsea defender Ashley Cole and Manchester United winger Ashley Young were singled out for abuse on Twitter by one user. In a series of offensive postings, the user goaded others who criticised him for his rants.
In one post the tweeter wrote: "All I got to say is this was just a joke, you guys need to relax, police know i was kiddin around and they won't bother me hopefully, cheers." Another said: "The police won't bother me mate i can assure you that."
The Football Association said in a statement: "We are concerned at the reports regarding allegations of abuse aimed at England players Ashley Cole and Ashley Young on Twitter.
"They have just given everything for the national team at Euro 2012 and it is appalling and unacceptable that messages of an abusive type are being posted. We support any police investigation in identifying who is behind this."
A Metropolitan Police (MPS) spokesman said earlier: "We are aware of alleged racist comments on Twitter following last night's England game and have launched an investigation.
"The allegation was made to MPS on June 25 by a member of the public relating to comments on a Twitter account supposedly based in London.
"No arrests at this early stage. The MPS is examining possible offences under Section 18/19 Public Order Act 1986."
Cole and Young returned home with the remainder of the team today following the 4-2 shoot-out defeat in the quarter-final against Italy.
Student Liam Stacey, 21, from Pontypridd, South Wales, was jailed for 56 days in March after racially abusing two Twitter users and mocking Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba when he collapsed and almost died.