A fundraiser has collected more than £32,000 for a German girl who received online abuse after she was pictured crying at Wembley as her side lost to England.
The image of the supporter, who has not been identified, went viral after Germany suffered a 2 – 0 defeat to the Three Lions in the second round of Euro 2020.
Former footballer Stan Collymore later shared screengrabs showing how a minority of Twitter users had directed abuse at the young girl in reference to her nationality and Germany’s Nazi past.
Joel Hughes, from Pontypridd, South Wales, has told Sky News he decided to set up a JustGiving page with the aim of raising £500 to show that “not everyone from the UK is horrible and that we care”.
However, after four days the page had raised £32,667 in donations from people who wanted to show their support.
Mr Hughes initially put out a tweet in an effort to try and contact the family, but a team at JustGiving has since taken over the effort.
They now have a strong lead which they believe will help them to reach the family.
The plan then would be to open discussions about donating the money to a charity in line with the message of the campaign.
Mr Hughes told Sky News: “I saw the tweet from Stan Collymore, I saw the vile unchecked abuse being directed at the images of the young girl. And I think it struck a chord, not just in terms of the vileness of the online abuse, but also the xenophobia, which taps into deeper issues of where Britain is now and how we are perceived on the world stage.
“I thought you know what, I want do try and do something here, however small it might be.”
He continued: “I thought we’d get a couple of hundred pounds. But if I’d got a couple of hundred quid the chances of me ever trying to get in touch with the family would have been negligible, so the scale has helped it.
“But there is a down side, because you do have a nagging in the back of your mind that the family just want you to shut up about it and stop showing the image.”
Mr Hughes said he has suffered online abuse himself since launching the campaign and said he hopes the money can be donated to a charity soon.
One of the donators, Alison Rowe, commented as she contributed £5: “There are no words to express my disappointment in the way some of England think, speak and act, this was disgusting.
“I can’t believe people think this way.”
Lee Tabreham, who donated £10, wrote on the JustGiving page: “Please remember the majority of England fans are good people who love football.
“I hope that you haven’t been exposed to the sick, vile comments of these mindless idiots. Best wishes to you and your dad.”
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