Football fans who send racist abuse online could be banned from matches, Prime Minister suggests

Football fans who send racist messages online could be banned from matches, the Prime Minister has suggested.

A mural of Manchester United striker and England player Marcus Rashford on the wall of the Coffee House Cafe on Copson Street, Withington. The mural appeared vandalised on Monday after the England football team lost the UEFA Euro 2021 final. (Danny Lawson/PA)
A mural of Manchester United striker and England player Marcus Rashford on the wall of the Coffee House Cafe on Copson Street, Withington. The mural appeared vandalised on Monday after the England football team lost the UEFA Euro 2021 final. (Danny Lawson/PA)

Those behind abuse on the internet could now face punishments under football banning orders, which can currently be used to sanction those who shout offensive chants in football grounds, as Boris Johnson told MPs the Government is taking “practical steps” to change the regime.

Mr Johnson told Prime Minster’s Questions: “I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night.

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“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.”

The exchange follows widespread condemnation of racist messages sent to some black members of the England football team after their Euros final loss to Italy at the weekend.

In the Commons, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said “far from giving racism the red card, the Prime Minister gave it the green light” as he accused Mr Johnson of “the worst kind of gesture politics - putting on an England shirt over a shirt and tie whilst not condemning those booing.”

England footballer Tyrone Mings said the Priti Patel had previously “stoke[d] the fire” at the start of the tournament by referring to taking the knee as “gesture politics” , but the Prime Minister rejected a call from Sir Keir to condemn his Home Secretary.

Mr Johnson told the House: “I want to reiterate my support, our support, our total support for our fantastic team and I support them in the way that they show solidarity with their friends who face racism.

“The Home Secretary has faced racism and prejudice all her career of a kind that he can never imagine, and she has taken practical steps to get black and minority officers into the police in record numbers.”