Online Racists Will Be Banned From Football. Fans who racially abuse footballers online will be banned from grounds under new rules sparked by the outcry over trolling of England players, a move backed by the Premier League.
The Premier League warned on Wednesday that 80% of the abuse reported to its monitoring unit came from outside the UK – but said racists could still be pursued.
Boris Johnson said football banning orders would be changed to cover online racism, to keep people found guilty of online abuse away from matches. It is understood the move would have strong support from the Premier League – where one source described FBOs as “under-utilised”.
Johnson’s spokesperson said subsequently that there would be a consultation on the change to banning orders, and while the aim was to move as fast as possible, it might potentially not happen before the passing of the long-delayed online safety bill.
Asked if this could mean a delay lasting years, they said: “Not necessarily, no … We’ll want to introduce it as swiftly as possible, working with the FA, working with social media companies and others.”
England trio, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford were targeted with sickening racial abuse following Sunday’s Euros final defeat after they missed penalty shootout against Italy at Wembley.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister told MPs that the government is toughening up the football banning order regime as he clashed with Keir Starmer over his stance on the national team ‘taking the knee’ before matches.
“You will not be going to the match – no ifs, no buts,” the prime minister told abusive supporters, in the Commons, after pressure from Labour to adopt the move.
The commitment came as Mr. Johnson defended Priti Patel, his home secretary, for defending fans’ right to boo England players taking the knee at the start of matches.
In data released on Wednesday, the Premier League said its online monitoring system suggested that 80% of abusive remarks against players in the 20/21 season had come from abroad, but said trolls could still be pursued, citing the case of a man in Singapore who was convicted.
Keir Starmer, the labour leader, accused Johnson of trying to “stoke a culture war” by refusing to condemn fans who booed the England team taking a knee but now found himself on the wrong side. He suggested the prime minister had treated racism as “a game”.
Johnson sought to claim he had never condoned the fans’ booing.
Devoting almost all his allotted time at prime minister’s questions to the issue, Starmer dismissed Johnson’s claims, saying: “The prime minister isn’t kidding anybody in this house. He’s not kidding the public, and he’s not even kidding his own MPs.”