Boris Johnson has promised that people who are found guilty of racially abusing players online will be banned from football matches.
Following the abuse directed at Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho after the final against Italy earlier this year, and amid pressure to curtail the rise in online abuse faced by players, the Prime Minister said the government is, “taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning order regime is changed”.
During the first Prime Minister’s Questions of July, he revealed that he had met with representatives of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, to notify them that legislation is in the works which could see face fines amounting to 10 percent of their global revenues should they fail to rid their platforms of hate and racism.
Despite his stance, government officials, including the Home Secretary Priti Patel, could not escape criticism for their role in ‘stoking the fires’ for the eventual abuse aimed at the players. Both leader of the opposition Keir Starmer and SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford launched scathing criticisms of the Prime Minister’s messaging in support of the England squad.
Given past racist remarks made by the Prime Minister himself, scrutiny as to his ability to navigate conversations surrounding the impact of race in society looks only set to worsen.