Footie fan who raised money for crying German girl branded ‘paedo’ by trolls

A football fan who has raised thousands of pounds for a young German fan who was mocked online after England's victory over Germany in the Euros says he's been bombarded with sick online abuse after setting up the fundraiser.

Joel Hughes, 51, raised more than £36,000 on a JustGiving page for the little girl who was seen crying on TV and on the big screen at Wembley when Germany were knocked out of Euro 2020 by England after their 2-0 loss at Wembley.

At one point during the match, a number of fans cheered the image of a little girl in tears as her team's stint in the championship came to an end while others posted sick messages on social media revelling in her tears.

Mr Hughes originally set out to raise just £500 for the young fan's parents to "spend this on a nice treat for her so that she knows that not everyone from the UK is horrible".

But he says he has now been abused online with fake profiles set up in his name while others have quoted his old tweets which are being taken out of context, WalesOnline reports.

Some people have accused him online of being a scammer and a paedophile.

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"The abuse is horrendous and it's targeting my family. They are posting my private details online," he said.

"I am getting so much abuse which is ironic seeing as I am raising money for a girl who is getting online abuse."

The father-of-two, from Pontypridd, started the fundraiser after seeing a tweet from pundit Stan Collymore highlighting the abuse and Joel said he had to do something.

He added: "I saw the tweet from Stan Collymore and I saw the comments and I thought it was pretty disgusting how people can say that about a little girl crying."

Mr Hughes, who works as a web developer, said: "I want her and her parents to know that we are not all idiots here in the UK.”

He said: "It has all snowballed. It started off with me putting £50 in and then a few other people putting some money in and I thought it would be nice if we could get the girl something and it went on from there."

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Mr Hughes has received a lot of abuse with some people telling him he should not be donating the money to the little girl.

"I am fairly resilient but I can imagine how this would be incredibly damaging to someone," he said.

"It is frightening the lengths that these people will go to attack me.

"This isn't going to change the world but I want to do something nice for her."

Mr Hughes said JustGiving is helping him track down the little girl. He said if he can't find her he will find another appropriate charity. The fundraising page has now closed having raised a total of £36,180.

"Everything I am doing is with the guidance of JustGiving. There are so many people trying to pick holes because they want the campaign to fail," he said.

Mr Hughes said he has reported the abuse to the police.

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