Boris Johnson lambasted over failure to ban ‘appalling’ online abusers from footie matches


The Prime Minister unveiled plans in July, stating football fans who engage in racist abuse online will be barred from attending in-person matches. However, any legal change was unlikely to come into effect within a year due to the Online Safety Bill passing into law.

At the time, the Home Office launched a 12 week consultation on the proposed changes.

Any change may take years to take hold as the proposed legislation was only a draft.

At the time, a Whitehall source assured they were confident a “great deal can be done before this happens”.

“We can work with the football authorities to deliver this, as they already hold the power to rescind season tickets without the need for legislation,” the source stated.

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In July Mr Johnson pledged to ban football fans who are guilty of sending abuse to players online, stating there would be “no ifs, no buts”.

Now, the Labour party has questioned whether the Prime Minister has fulfilled his promise.

Jo Stevens, Shadow Culture Secretary said: “After the appalling abuse of the England football team during the Euros, there was quite rightly outrage from across the political spectrum.

“But it’s been more than three months since the Prime Minister backed Labour’s call to treat online abuse in the same way as racism directed at players from the terraces and extend football banning orders.

“Self regulation has manifestly failed and criminal sanctions, we believe, are the best way to change the arrogant culture of the leadership of social media companies who believe they are above the law.”

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The move to stop online racism followed the Euro 2020 final defeat which led to Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho experiencing a wave of racial abuse online.

Mr Johnson discussed the issue in the Commons following the final.

“I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night,“ the Prime Minister said.

“So what we are doing is taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning regime is changed so that if you are guilty of racist abuse online on football, then you will not be going to the match.

“No ifs, no buts, no exemptions, no excuses.”



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