Racist trolls face 10-year football bans
Racism and abuse directed at football stars could earn offenders bans of up to 10 years from attending matches in England and Wales under new legislation being brought in by the UK home secretary.
Priti Patel is set to bring forward amendments which mean that so-called Football Banning Orders can be expanded to cover online hate offenses as well.
The step has been expedited after several of England’s black footballers were subjected to racist abuse online following the team’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
“This summer we saw the beautiful game marred by disgraceful racism from online trolls, who hid behind their keyboards and abused our footballers,” said Patel.
“Racism is unacceptable and for too long football has been marred by this shameful prejudice.
“Those responsible for appalling racist abuse online must be punished. The changes to the law I am announcing will make sure they are banned from attending football matches.”
The changes are expected to be brought forward early in 2022 and are expected to involve amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Currently, Football Banning Orders – of which there are an estimated 1,300 in force across England and Wales – are imposed on thugs convicted of violence, disorder or racist and homophobic chanting.
The new proposals will see that extended to abuse from keyboard trolls, who could be slapped with a ban from attending games of up to 10 years.
Anyone guilty of breaching a Football Banning Order could find themselves jailed for up to six months and slapped with an unlimited fine.
The authorities have been urged to crack down on racist trolling after black England stars Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were all targeted following their penalty misses in the shootout defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final in July.
In the aftermath, Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to impose the tough new measures which are now being moved forward by the home secretary.
“I was appalled by the abhorrent abuse directed towards a number of our footballers in the aftermath of Sunday's game. More must be done to prevent people being bullied and trolled online,” Johnson said back in July.