London, Jul 14 (EFE).- Fans found guilty of posting racist abuse online will be banned from attending football matches and social media companies that fail to tackle hate on their platforms could face huge fines, the United Kingdom’s prime minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday.
Conservative Party leader Johnson’s comments to parliament come during the fallout of racist abuse leveled against three Black England players following the country’s dramatic loss in the final of Euro 2020.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Buyako Saka were all subjected to an inundation of racist comments on social media after England lost on penalties against Italy on Sunday night.
Johnson told MPs that the Football Banning Order, which prohibits fans found guilty of racist chants, violent disorder and other offences, would be extended to cover online racist abuse.
“What we are doing is, today, taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning order regime is changed so that if you are guilty of racist abuse online of footballers, then you will not be going to the match,” he said during Prime Minister’s Questions.
“No ifs, no buts, no exemptions, no excuses.”
The PM said he had met with representatives of TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on Tuesday evening and had made it “absolutely clear” to them that the government would legislate to address the problem, adding that if companies did not get rid of hate and racism on their platforms, they would face fines amounting to 10% of their global revenues.
Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, also asked Johnson whether he thought it was wrong “to criticize the England decision to oppose racism by taking the knee as ‘gesture politics’.”
Johnson’s home secretary Priti Patel had previously described England’s decision to take the knee as gesture politics, earning her a sharp rebuttal from England and Aston Villa player Tyrone Mings when she condemned the racist abuse in a social media statement Monday.
“You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens,” Mings wrote.
Johnson defended Patel, who is of Ugandan-Indian descent, saying she “had faced racism and prejudice all her career of a kind he (Starmer) can never imagine.” EFE