- England’s Black soccer players faced online racist abuse following a loss over the summer.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the online attacks at the time.
- The UK is looking to expand legislation to ban online abusers from attending soccer matches.
People who direct racism at soccer players online could be banned from attending games in the United Kingdom for up to 10 years, Reuters reported.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said she wants to expand legislation to include online hate offenses, according to Sky Sports.
The UK’s Football Banning Orders currently apply to people convicted of violence or disorder at games. There are 1,300 of these orders in force, banning people from attending games from three to 10 years, Sky Sports reported.
“This summer we saw the beautiful game marred by disgraceful racism from online trolls, who hid behind their keyboards and abused our footballers,” Patel said, according to the Sky Sports report. “Racism is unacceptable and for too long football has been marred by this shameful prejudice.”
The measure comes after Black soccer players faced online racist abuse after the Euro 2020 final this past summer.
In July, English soccer players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka, who are all Black, faced abuse after missing their penalty kicks in a game where the team lost 3-2 against Italy, NPR reported at the time.
Following the incident, the Football Association, the sport’s governing body in England, asked the government to hold abusers accountable by passing legislation to make online harassment a crime.
“We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and are appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media,” the organization said in a statement . “We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the online abuse at the time.
“This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves,” Johnson said in July.
The new law will likely be an amendment to the police, crime, sentencing, and courts bill that will come forward in early 2022, Sky Sports reported.
“Those responsible for appalling racist abuse online must be punished,” Patel said, according to Sky Sports. “The changes to the law I am announcing will make sure they are banned from attending football matches.”