Back a petition to ban racists from football stadiums for life
- Credit: PA/Nick Potts
After the trauma of a cup final lost on penalties, it is tragic that we are once again talking about racism – but here we are.
The names of some of England's young heroes are once again forced into headlines as victims because as a society we continue to tolerate bullies, thugs and bigots.
The prime minister and the FA may condemn racist abuse, but to what effect?
Three football fans – Shaista, Huda and Amna – have started a petition to ban racists from all football matches in England for life.
"As multi-racial football fans, we finally feel represented by this anti-racist and inclusive England team," they write.
"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. Their vision is an inclusive vision and this matters more than ever – it’s why we feel proud of this team and why they’re so cherished and loved by many of us. There should be no room for racists and bigotry in football or society.
"We are calling for the Football Association and the government to work together now to ban all those who have carried out racist abuse, online or offline, from all football matches in England for life."
I couldn't agree more. Anything short of that is a failure to condemn racism.
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Of course, the issue was already on the news agenda at the start of the tournament, with boos from some quarters for players taking a knee – and shameful associated attacks from the nastier side of politics.
Yet you rarely hear from someone who says they boo because they are in favour of racism. Instead it's couched as a critique of Marxism.
What you also don't hear is a proposed alternative. If the players want to make a gesture against racism, and the boo-boys don't like the knee, what gesture would they propose instead?
The fact is that racism remains, as does the gulf between words and actions from the authorities.
Sign the petition here: www.change.org/ban-racists-from-football