Those found guilty of racist online abuse against footballers will be banned from attending matches for up to 10 years under new laws, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has said.
Football ban orders, imposed to prevent violence or disorder at regulated matches, prohibit individuals from attending matches for at least three years and for a maximum of 10 years.
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Existing legislation will be extended to cover hate crimes online after Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to toughen measures in July following racist abuse targeting black England players after the England final defeat Euro 2020.
“This summer we saw the beautiful game marred by shameful racism from online trolls, who hid behind their keyboards and abused our footballers,” Patel said as quoted by British media.
“Those responsible for appalling racist abuse online must be punished. The changes to the law I am announcing will ensure that they will be banned from attending football matches.”
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The new law will be introduced early in the new year, UK media reported, in the form of an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
According to government statistics, 1,359 football ban orders were in effect in England and Wales as of August 1.