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UK banning soccer fans with history of online racist abuse

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The United Kingdom is planning to ban any fans with a history of online racist abuse from soccer matches after several Black players were harassed for losing the Euro 2020 championship.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plan Wednesday after Black national team players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka faced racist comments online for missing penalty kicks that sealed Italy’s victory in the soccer match, The Associated Press reported.

“What we are doing is taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning regime is changed so that if you are guilty of racist abuse online on football, then you will not be going to the match,” Johnson said. “No ifs, no buts, no exemptions, no excuses.”

The AP noted that courts are allowed to ban fans from the soccer games if they commit a “relevant offence” in connection with the game.

More than 1 million people signed a petition to ban those participating in the racist abuse against the players following England’s loss Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

Twitter deleted more than 1,000 accounts that were making racist remarks toward the players after the championship. The racist abuse after the game underscores race issues that the players previously faced.

Racist chants almost suspended a game between England and Bulgaria during the tournament, with monkey chants being heard when Black England players had the ball.

“I’m not going (to) pretend that I didn’t see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it’s nothing new,” Sancho said in an Instagram post Wednesday. “As a society we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.”

The Euro 2020 championship saw ample unruly behavior, with ticketless fans pushing past police to get in the stadium. There were 19 officers injured and 26 arrests were made, with police facing criticisms for failing to prepare, according to the AP.

“I do not accept that the policing operation failed, and I stand by the difficult decisions made by police officers and the Met’s public order commanders,″ Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors said. “Without their immediate intervention, it is possible that this game could have been abandoned.”

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