People who send racist slurs at online footballers could be banned from attending matches for up to ten years, the home secretary said.
Priti Patel has announced that the football ban orders, intended to prevent disorder in matches by banning those deemed to be at risk, will extend to hate crimes online.
The decision came in the wake of the Euro 2020 final, when England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received a wave of racist abuse on social media after the game.
Ms Patel told the Mail on Sunday: “We saw the beautiful game marred with shameful racism from online trolls, who hid behind their keyboards and abused our footballers.
“Racism is unacceptable and football has been marred by this shameful prejudice for too long.
“Those responsible for appalling racist abuse online must be punished. The changes to the law that I am announcing will mean that they will be banned from attending football matches. “
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries added: “The racist abuse that floods footballers’ social media feeds is having a profound impact on everyone involved in the game and it must stop.”
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be updated to include the new policy in early 2022.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to put the legislation in place after the tournament in July, saying he “is appalled at the heinous abuse directed at a number of our footballers following Sunday’s game.”
Mr Johnson was under fire at the time for not doing enough to defend players against racism. Social media platform Instagram has also come under fire for allowing more than 94% of racist accounts to remain active.