LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured Wednesday to take strict actions against online racist abuse of soccer players.
The move will be handled by banning fans from games if they are found guilty of such offences and fining social media platforms for fails to remove such posts.
Johnson and his interior minister, Priti Patel, faced massive criticism for their earlier racial comments after three black soccer players met online racism after England’s loss in the final of Euro 2020.
UK PM Condemns Racial Attacks
The PM condemned the racist abuse of the players; however, he defended his minister Patel by saying she also faced such abuse.
PM added that his government was determined to tackle the issue, acknowledging that racism was a problem in Britain.
Johnson told the parliament that he does think that racism is a problem in the UK, and he believes it needs to be tackled and it needs to be stamped out with some of the means that he described earlier yesterday.
He added that what they will do is take practical steps to ensure that the Football Banning Order regime is changed.
If they were guilty of racist abuse online of footballers, they would not be going to the match, no ifs, no buts, no exemptions and no excuses.
“Last night, I met representatives of Facebook, of Twitter, of TikTok, of Snapchat, of Instagram, and I made it clear to them that we will legislate to address this problem in the Online Harms Bill, and unless they get hate and racism off their platforms.”
Some players and commentators criticized Boris Johnson’s government and accused them of encouraging online abuse of Black players.
Johnson’s spokesman said that the prime minister had urged people to support the team and not boo them.
PM said the abuse was utterly disgraceful and had emerged from the dark spaces of the internet.
American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter movement did the first protest against online abuse.
What happened after England’s loss to Italy in the Euros final?
After England’s loss to Italy in the Euros final match on Sunday, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were targetted for racial abuse after they missed spot-kicks in a penalty shootout with Italy, which resulted in the loss of the final game by England.
The comments were hugely condemned and prompted a police investigation.
However, critics accused some ministers of the hypocrisy of refusing to support a high-profile anti-racist stance the players had made during the tournament.
England captain Harry Kane wrote on Twitter that Three lads who were brilliant all summer dared to step up and take a pen when the stakes were high.
He added that these players deserve support & backing, not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. If anyone abuses them on social media, they are not an England fan.
England manager Gareth Southgate called the abuse unforgivable.
Rashford, one of the players who faced racism, wrote in a social media post late on Monday that he is thankful to his teammates for the support they extended to him.
He is overwhelmed by the supportive messages he is receiving.
He further added that he could critique his performance all day long, but he will never apologize for what he is and where he comes from.
The Football Association said that fans who exhibited such disgusting behaviour are not welcome, and European soccer governing body UEFA will call for the most substantial possible punishments.
London Police said that their officers were aware of the offensive and racist comments and would take action.
A lawmaker in PM Johnson’s Conservative Party also apologized after a private message. In her private message, she had said that Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game than “playing politics”.
The online abuse of players led to British soccer authorities briefly boycotting social media platforms before the tournament, while Britain is planning legislation to force tech firms to do more.
The Chairman of the UK parliament’s committee for sports issues earlier asked the head of England’s Football Association to explain the chaotic scenes at Wembley Stadium during Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
Sources: Reuters, TOI