People who are convicted of football-related online hate crime can now receive banning orders that prevent them from attending live matches.
Such banning orders in football have been extended so that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) can request tougher penalties from courts for offences committed online involving sexuality, race or religion.
Douglas Mackay of the CPS said: “Football banning orders are one of the many tools available to the justice system for imposition on offenders who are convicted of crimes related to our national game.
"This new CPS legal guidance gives prosecutors wider authority to request banning orders from the courts. It is another consequence for those guilty of shameful behaviour.
"Over recent years and months hate crimes relating to sporting events have been on the rise. The recent internal UK Football Policing Unit mid-season report has shown a significant rise in football-related criminality compared to pre-pandemic levels.
"At the CPS, we play a crucial role in tackling these crimes and making our national sport inclusive and safe to watch. There is no place for hate in football. Hate crime can have a profound impact on victims."
A study conducted by the Professional Footballers’ Association found that 44% of Premier League players had been subjected to online abuse. Last summer, the UK government promised to issue 10-year banning orders to people who abuse players online. This came as a result of multiple incidents that occurred following the Euro 2020 final in which England lost to Italy on penalties. Three of England’s penalty takers, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were bombarded with racial abuse after the match.
Home secretary Priti Patel confirmed in January that football banning orders would be extended to cover online hate offences. The change has now finally come into effect.
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