The topic of online racist abuse in football was discussed by the Government this week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined ways to tackle online racist abuse in football following social media attacks on black England players this week. In the House of Commons and a subsequent press release, it was revealed the Government will consult on the extension of Football Banning Orders that will see online abusers banned from stadiums for up to ten years.
At Brentford FC, we read with interest the comments on dealing with online abuse. They follow meetings held in May following a boycott of social media platforms. Clubs including Brentford led the initial boycott plans and worked alongside the EFL, Kick It Out, The FA, Premier League, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, the FSA and Women in Football. Soon gathering momentum, a range of other sports, organisations and individuals swiftly followed suit.
This week’s comments also follow the announcement of the Online Safety Bill earlier this year. The Government announced it would work with the Premier League and other football authorities to help tackle all aspects of online abuse footballers are experiencing, ahead of the Online Safety Bill coming into force. Brentford FC fully supports these efforts towards a more proactive and powerful response to online discrimination. Brentford are in conversation with several of the football bodies about how online hate can be better dealt with within the current legislative framework but also on how new policies, processes, legislation and collaboration can help make the beautiful game a safer place for everyone.
A press release was issued earlier in the summer outlining the next steps that football is requesting of social media companies. Brentford will continue to lead calls for change. That full statement can be seen here. As a reminder, below is the change we are calling for, from social media companies:
- Apply preventative filtering and blocking measures to stop discriminatory abuse being sent or seen
- Be accountable for safety on platforms andprotect users by implementing effective verification
- Ensure real-life consequences for online discriminatory abuse: ban perpetrators,stop account re-registration and support law enforcement
- A warning message to be displayed if a user writes an abusive message and need to enter personal data if they wish to send the message
- Platforms to have robust, reliable and quick measures in place if abusive material is sent or posted
- Transparent quarterly reports on the work social media companies are doing, internally and externally, to eradicate abuse on their platforms
Brentford FC already has a clear social media policy and fan code of conduct. In line with our ambition to embed inclusion into everything we do, we will be working even harder with others in football to make the importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion clear and to deal swiftly and robustly with those who cross the line into racism and discrimination. The Club will have no hesitation in using sanctions such as Football Banning Orders, lifetime stadium bans and legal action through our Metropolitan Police Dedicated Football Officer. When abuse is coming from overseas, we will work with our partners at The Premier League to try and identify and take action against perpetrators, such as in the recent case of online abuse directed at former Brentford player Neil Maupay from Singapore here.