Story at a glance

  • An online petition aimed at barring soccer fans who participated in racial abuses targeting players has reached more than 1 million signatures.
  • Shaista Aziz, Amna Abdullatif and Huda Jawad created the petition after three players for England’s national team were subjected to racist abuse following a loss.
  • ”Gareth Southgate’s England team plays for ALL of us,” the petition creators wrote.

An online petition to ban soccer fans who participated in racial abuses targeting players from games for life has reached more than 1 million signatures. 

Shaista Aziz, Amna Abdullatif and Huda Jawad created the petition after three players for England’s national team were subjected to racist abuse following the team’s loss in the Euro 2020 final. 

“As multi-racial football fans, we finally feel represented by this anti-racist and inclusive England team,” wrote the trio of women who organized the petition on Change.org. “We could not be more proud or inspired by our magnificent team and by their talent, bravery, leadership and love for all. Gareth Southgate’s England team plays for ALL of us.”


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An analysis conducted by The Guardian and advocacy group Hope Not Hate found 120 instances of racial abuse targeting Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho in the immediate aftermath of England’s defeat — actions denounced by the Football Association. 

England coach Gareth Southgate said the actions targeting  the team were “unforgivable.”

“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,” Southgate said Monday, according to The Associated Press.

The activists wrote as they neared 1 million signatures that it is time to “show tech, football and political leaders that enough is enough,” and they described to The PA News Agency how the number of signatures affirms their values. 

“To go over one million …… we feel validated in our resistance to racism and that what we have been able to articulate is the sentiment that is held nationwide,” Jawad said.

“This is not our petition – this is the nation speaking and saying this is not okay and enough is enough,” she continued. “It’s not about just educating people and having a softly-softly approach – this is the point where we are very clear about our red lines.”

The women explained to the PA News Agency that they have each felt fear when attending matches in the past. 


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“When I would go and see England play in Wembley, I remember very vividly being terrified,” Aziz said. “I remember one particular match, I actually went to the steward at half-time and begged him, ‘Please, can you let me sit with the opposition?’ I’m born and raised in this country, I’m from this country, I support England, but felt that I needed to get out of the English half.”

Abdullatif described how the English team represents “a completely inspiring vision of what young people can achieve, what a diverse group of people can achieve and what young men can be.” 

“They don’t have to be misogynistic, they don’t have to be racist,” she concluded. 


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Published on Jul 14, 2021