BANNED: Boris Johnson confirms football banning orders will cover racism
PA - Mike Egerton
The Government is changing football banning orders to cover online racism, Boris Johnson has said.
There has been widespread condemnation of racist abuse received by England trio Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after they missed penalties in England’s Euro 2020 final shoot-out defeat to Italy on Sunday.
And responding to a question by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions, Johnson said: “I want to thank each and every one of them for what they did, their incredible campaign they ran in the Euro 2020 championships, and they do represent the very best of our country.
“I repeat that I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night, and so what we’re doing today is taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning order regime is changed, so that if you are guilty of racist abuse online of footballers, then you will not be going to the match, no ifs, no buts, no exemptions and no excuses.”
Banning orders allow magistrates to prohibit individuals from attending all regulated matches in the UK if they are convicted of relevant offences.
While they may also be required to surrender their passport before overseas matches and tournaments, the legislation does not currently cover online incidents.
The orders can last between three and 10 years and are believed to be largely handed out for violent and public disorder offences.
The Football Association has condemned the abuse of Rashford, Sancho and Saka said it would do all it could to support the players affected.
On Wednesday Greater Manchester Police confirmed a 37-year-old man from Ashton upon Mersey had been arrested after social media posts were directed towards England players following Sunday’s match.
Johnson had earlier told those who had abused England players to “crawl back under the rock from which you emerged”, and discussed the matter with social media companies on Tuesday.
But Number 10 also had to issue a defence of Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel over their earlier responses.
Aston Villa and England defender Tyrone Mings accused the Home Secretary of having managed to “stoke the fire” in the tournament by claiming the team’s taking of the knee against racism was “gesture politics”.
Support for the England players has continued to be shown across the nation, with a petition encouraging permanently banning racists from football matches passing a million signatures in just two days.
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