In the wake of global outrage over attacks on England players, the Government has been warned that courts should be given new powers to bar anyone convicted of online racist abuse from attending football events.
Labour has requested that racial hatred on the internet be treated the same as it is on the terraces, by extending Football Banning Orders to include online offenses.
The call came after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were targeted by racists on social media after failing to score in the Euro 2020 final penalty shootout.
On Tuesday, Boris Johnson met with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in Number 10 to discuss online harassment, following criticism of the social media giants for failing to address racial abuse directed at footballers.
England centre-back Harry Maguire said social media had a “negative side” as he joined people calling on companies to crack down on those who use their platforms to spread racist hate.
“Something needs to be done,” the Three Lions and Manchester United defender told the Sun.
Every account must be verified by the companies.
“It’s far too simple to troll and abuse.”
“It’s just too simple to be racist and get away with it,” Labour says, pressing the government to use the impending Internet Safety Bill to expand powers under Football Banning Orders, noting that present policies are ineffective.
“The bigots who have been insulting England players online should be banned from football grounds,” Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary, said.
They have no right to be anywhere near a football game.
“We need to take immediate action to combat online abuse, but the reality is that the government’s Online Safety Bill will not prevent racial abuse on the internet.”
“Labour would ensure as online abuse is addressed in the same way that racism aimed at players from the stands is, so that these racists are brought to justice and banned from grounds,” he said. Since its introduction following Sunday’s match, an online petition calling for racists to be banned for life from all football events in England has gathered more than 970,000 signatures.
If a person is convicted of a related offence, courts can issue a Football Banning Order prohibiting them from attending any regulated match in the UK.
While they may be compelled to relinquish their passports before to international matches and tournaments, the law does not cover incidences that occur online.
The orders, which can last anywhere from three to ten years, are thought to be mostly issued for violent and public disruption offenses.
According to official figures, 35 of the 1,089 football-related arrests in England and Wales in the 2019/20 season were for racist and obscene chanting, while 657 were for disruption.
A total of 1,621 prohibition orders were issued.
According to a spokesperson for the Department of Technology, Culture, Media, and Sport, the government is “introducing harsh new rules” to force social media corporations to combat racism.
“Our world-leading Online Safety Law will also prevent repeat offenders from registering new accounts,” the spokeswoman continued.
“It will include measures to make senior managers legally accountable, and we will not hesitate to bring these powers into force if tech corporations do not step up their efforts,” Downing Street said, although it also had to defend Mr Johnson and Priti Patel over their past responses to racist abuse.
Tyrone Mings, an England footballer, accused the Home Secretary of “stoking the fire” in the competition by criticizing the team’s decision to take a knee in protest of racism as “gesture politics.”
Ms Patel refused to criticise supporters who booed players who took a knee in protest of racial injustice at the start of games last month.
“I really don’t support people that participate in that type of gesture, and to some extent, gesture politics,” she told GB News.
Ms Patel declined to comment on Ming’s post, but Conservative former defence minister Johnny Mercer claimed the player was “absolutely correct” in his assessment.
According to the Guardian, Conservative MP and former minister Steve Baker has also stated that Conservatives need to modify their attitudes about people who take the knee.
“Much as we cannot be connected with calls to defund the police, we urgently need to challenge our own attitude toward people taking a knee,” he wrote in a message to Conservatives Against Racism, For Equality MPs, according to the newspaper.