RACIST trolls who abuse players online are set to be banned from matches for up to ten years under new proposals put forward by the Government.
The policy will place cowardly keyboard warriors who abuse players from behind a screen on a par with thugs who hurl racist chants from stadium seats.
The latter can already face these bans, but until now online trolls have been able to use the cloak of social media to avoid facing such penalties.
This is completely wrong and that’s why this is the right move by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel.
Infatti, I see no reason whatsoever why those who send the most horrid racist abuse online to sportsmen should not be banned from attending matches altogether.
If they choose to exploit football to create an online cesspit of hate and abuse, then they have no business being given the privilege to see matches.
It’s firm but it’s fair. It’s especially the right thing to do given how rife divisions in the country are. After the bickering and brawling over Brexit, then Covid, football somehow brought us all back together last year — even if just briefly.
So protecting the sanctity of the beautiful game is paramount. That’s why we need more robust penalties to deal with the likes of what we saw after the Euro 2020 finale.
When the England boys lined up to take their penalties in that nail-biting shootout against Italy last July, people around the country waited with bated breath, praying desperately that the lads would finally bring it home. Three misses meant it was not to be.
Vedendo Bukayo Saka — only a teen at the time — crying on to the shoulder of manager Gareth Southgate was heartbreaking. Decent people everywhere felt nothing but sympathy and pride at the efforts the team had put in.
But sadly, the Neanderthals among us jumped online, bashing away angrily at their keyboards to make monkey references and throw around the N-word.
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Although some of them sacrificed a few weeks of freedom after receiving a jail sentence as a result, I believe people of this ilk should face a far harsher sacrifice: Forfeiting the right to attend any games.
Excommunicating them is the only way to send the message that racist abuse will not be tolerated in sport.
It’s a message millions of regular, law-abiding supporters already understand and endorse.
Before Covid, attendances in the English Football League had reached a 60-year high. Only a tiny proportion of these supporters are racist.
Most are ordinary people who think the diversity of our teams is testament to British values. Which is exactly why those who aren’t on board need to be shown the red card.
I know some will label me a hypocrite for calling for tough penalties for racism in football. This is because of my frank criticism of the Black Lives Matter organisation in the past.
I still think it is an unhelpful pressure group with an ambiguous blob of a manifesto.
It does not have the answers to addressing racism in this country.
Delivers a firm blow
But unlike the detractors who think anyone who criticised taking the knee was endorsing racism, I am able to hold two thoughts in my head at the same time.
I can want to rid sport of racism while being critical of tactics used to do so.
I’d like to see bans for racists, tougher sentences for those found guilty of inciting hatred, and social media companies punished for failing to block and remove accounts that post abuse.
Ieri, a report published by the Commons’ Digital, Cultura, Media, and Sport committee called on the Government to consider withholding public money from the England and Wales Cricket Board, and I strongly feel this should be extended to other sports groups and associations who drop the ball on rooting out racism in dressing rooms and on the stands.
Tens of millions of public money goes into football alone through grants, and if footballing organisations are failing to deal properly with racism, then they should face a financial penalty, pure.
What happened following the Euro 2020 final WILL happen again. That is the reality. We can’t eradicate racism any more than we can eradicate hate altogether.
But we CAN make sure that when so-called football fans peddle racism online, the heavy hand of the law delivers a firm blow rather than a slap on the wrist.
FORMER Love Islander-turned-influencer Molly-Mae Hague has become a multi-millionaire after signing a seven-figure deal with haircare business Beauty Works.
The star was recently lambasted for her so-called “tone deaf” comments which suggested poor people can be successful if they just work harder.
The vitriolic reaction was completely overboard. Molly-Mae is doing exceptionally well for herself but she is ultimately just one of an endless supply of vacuous celebs who dish out motivational advice.
It’s unfair for her to be targeted in this way when celebs are constantly offering unwarranted and nonsensical life tips.
Infatti, if anything, she should be applauded.
She hasn’t made her fortune through baring all online. Her 6.2million Instagram followers are not treated to an endless array of pointless busty bikini pics.
Oltre a questo, she’s recently been an advocate for ditching plastic surgery and going au naturel. She’s as harmless as you can be while being a social media influencer and people should leave her alone and let her crack on with it.
MILLER PARTY’S POOPED
ANTI-Brexit campaigner and narcissist-in-chief Gina Miller launched a new political party on Thursday which she claims will campaign for “constitutional reform” and oppose “elective dictatorship”.
That’s a funny way of saying, “I’m still obsessed with reversing the result of a democratic vote which took place years ago”.
She claims her party will “clean up politics” and bring back trust in the political system.
Which is ironic because one of the reasons trust in politicians is so low is because people like her sneer at and shun millions of ordinary voters when they express their views.
As if she didn’t already sound delusional and egoistical enough, lei ha aggiunto: “Whatever people may say about me, I get results.” The woman clearly has absolutely no sense of irony.
The only reason the public knows her name is because she detests results. In particolare, democratic results.
It’s no wonder only 13 people showed up to the launch event – conveniently blamed on Covid.
The Government might be in complete disarray and the opposition dismal, but I’ll take my chances with the two parties we have if Gina Miller is the alternative.
Tim to expose fakers
TORY MP Dr Luke Evans has introduced a bill in Parliament which would force influencers paid to post pictures of themselves to reveal whether the images of their bodies have been edited.
Evans says too many people are “caught up in the arms race for the perfect selfie”, and he’s right.
Young people are going to unthinkable lengths to try to achieve the perfect body. Hospital admissions for eating disorders among children have risen 41 per cent in a year and are now 69 per cent higher than before the pandemic.
Cosmetic surgery inquiries are on the rise.
For too long, stars have been getting away with profiting from passing off drastically edited photos of themselves as real.
Anyone who thinks this is not having an insidious effect on the body image of young people is massively mistaken.
Some people have criticised the bill for “over-regulating” social media and censoring free expression.
As far as I see it, this is a matter of the right to have all the information about products you consume.
The stars are paid to post their images to promote products – and they should not evade scrutiny.
A little bit dumb
M&S has changed the name of its Midget Gem sweets so as not to offend people with dwarfism.
The academic who campaigned to get the sweets renamed, and who has a growth condition herself, said the word “midget” was a throwback to Victorian freak shows which dehumanised people with dwarfism.
Do we really need to be this absurd? Because if we go down this road, I might as well call for Galaxy Minstrels to be renamed because of the shows which used to see entertainers wearing blackface.
Then it will be KitKat Chunky on the chopping block for fat-shaming, and Smarties for excluding thick people.
I’m all for more inclusive language but the offence bandwagon is headed on a one-way trip to crazy-ville.