Euro 2020: Newport man raises money for young Germany fan

image captionThe little girl was filmed crying at the German football team's loss at the Euros

A football fan from south Wales is raising money for a young German girl who was abused online to "show her not everyone in the UK is horrible".

The comments were made by England fans on social media when the little girl was pictured crying in the crowd after England beat Germany in the Euros.

Ex-England player Gary Lineker tweeted: "Absolutely disgusting. Sickening xenophobia."

Joel Hughes has so far raised more than £8,000 for a "nice treat" for the girl.

Mr Hughes, from Caerleon, Newport, said he would like to make contact with the girl's family about the online fundraiser.

The 51-year-old businessman told BBC Wales: "I watched the match, it was a good match. I was aware of some of the negative atmosphere, you could hear the booing and whatever, but I didn't think any more of it."

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But after seeing the "vile abuse of the images of that little girl" online, Mr Hughes said he thought: "I've had enough of this."

Mr Hughes said he thinks the UK has "turned into such an intolerant country," and that "there's so much xenophobia now".

image copyrightJoel Hughesimage captionJoel Hughes says he has "had enough" of seeing xenophobic abuse disguised as football banter

"We have a vocal minority of idiots who are swamping out the good in the UK and they're ruining our perception on the world stage and they're ruining our relationship with our friends and partners in Europe," he added.

He decided to try to redress the balance by showing "there is some good in the UK".

"It's striking a chord with a lot of people who are fed up with this kind of online abuse," Mr Hughes said.

"I'm not trying to change the world here… if we can end up putting a smile on that girl's face or making her parents understand that there is actually good in the UK, then at least we've done one thing."

If the girl's family are not found, or do not want to be involved, he said he would donate the proceeds to a "cause that is closely aligned to the spirit of the campaign".

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