The Home Secretary Priti Patel is putting forward legislation so that football prohibiting orders, which can currently be imposed on people conned of violence, disorder and racist or homophobic chanting, will be stretched to cover online hate offences as well.
The move comes following black players in the England football team were subject to shameful racism after the Euro 2020 final, and the Prime Minister pledged to get strict on online abusers.
The new law is anticipated to take the form of an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and will be put forward early in the New Year.
Home Secretary Priti Patel stated:
“This summer we saw the beautiful game marred by disgraceful racism from online trolls, who hid behind their keyboards and abused our footballers. Racism is unacceptable and for too long football has been marred by this shameful prejudice.”
“Those responsible for appalling racist abuse online must be punished. The changes to the law I am announcing will make sure they are banned from attending football matches.”
Football prohibiting orders bar the individual from going to regulated football matches for 3 to 10 years. Recent statistics depict there are currently over 1,300 football banning orders in force all across England and Wales.
They are issued either after a judgement for a football-related offence or after a complaint by a local police force, British Transport Police or the Crown Prosecution Service.
These agencies can make an appeal to the court to make an order in respect of a person who has at any time caused or contributed to football related violence or disorder whether in the UK or anywhere else.
Rupturing of a football prohibiting order is a criminal offence and is punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months behind bars, an unlimited fine or both. Additionally, a further order may be imposed. They are capped – orders expire and new ones are imposed all the time.
Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, stated:
“Racist abuse flooding footballers’ social media feeds all hours of the day has a profound impact on everyone involved in the game and it has to end.”
“We are tackling this abhorrent behaviour in all forms. As well as banning racists from games, we are introducing ground-breaking new laws to stamp out abuse online and make sure tech firms tackle the hate on their sites.”