Petition calling for racist football fans to be banned from games attracts over 750,000 signatures

‘Our England team stood up for all of us – now we must stand up for them,’ urges campaign

Tom Batchelor
Monday 12 July 2021 22:50

Related video: ‘Unforgivable’ online racist abuse of England players condemned by Gareth Southgate

A petition calling for England football fans found to have racially abused players to be banned from matches for life has attracted hundreds of thousands of signatures.

The campaign, launched by a group of women who call themselves ‘The Three Hijabis’, urges the Football Association, clubs and the government to work together to ban those who have carried out racist abuse at games or online from all football matches in England for life.

“Our England team stood up for all of us - now we must stand up for them,” the petition said.

By Monday evening, less than 24 hours after the game, more than 500,000 people had signed the petition on the website. That increased to over 750,000 by Monday morning.

It comes after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – who all missed penalties during England's shoot-out defeat – were targeted on social media with racist abuse.

The Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation into “offensive and racist” social media posts published soon after Italy emerged as the victors on Sunday night.

Huda Jawad, one of the women who organised the petition, told The Independent she was “appalled, disgusted and really quite hurt” by the reaction from a section of England fans.

“We cant let the hatred drown out the courage and the inspirational stepping-up of these three young men,” she said, referring to Rashford, Sancho and Saka.

“We want to really get the FA, the various clubs, the social media companies and the whole football infrastructure to address this problem holistically.

“We have been fighting racism for decades. What happened with the England team clearly demonstrates that more than ever there is an appetite to deal with this stuff.

“This is not somebody else's business, this is all our business because this is our England team.”

England manager Gareth Southgate has described the abuse directed at the players as "unforgivable".

"It's just not what we stand for," he said during a press conference on Monday.

"We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.”

In a statement released after the match, the FA said it “strongly condemns all forms of discrinimation and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media”.

The governing body has not responded publicly to the petition. The Independent contacted the FA for comment.

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