More than 650,000 people have signed a petition calling for people who racially abuse footballers to be banned from grounds for life.
Three black England players were racially abused online after they missed penalties in a shootout against Italy in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were targeted after the Three Lions suffered a heartbreaking defeat at Wembley.
Now thousands of supporters want the government and football authorities to go further and introduce automatic lifetime bans for people who racially abuse players.
Rugby legend and England World Cup winner Phil Vickery, comedian Eddie Izzard and glamour model Katie Price have backed the campaign.
Glamour model Katie Price has backed the petition to ban racists from all football for life
The petition, entitled ‘Ban racists for life from all football matches in England’, was set up by anti-racism campaigner Shaista Aziz and her friends under the name of the Three Hijabis.
The change.org petition reads: ‘As multi-racial football fans, we finally feel represented by this anti-racist and inclusive England team.
‘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.’
Comedian Eddie Izzard is another high-profile figure who has lent support to the campaign
Football Association AND Oliver Dowden Sec of State DCMS. PM Boris Johnson.: Ban racists for life from all football matches in England* – Sign the Petition! https://t.co/BKsdQHkMaa via @CdnChange
Social media platforms have faced calls for more tools to tackle and block abusive messages and stricter censure of users who abuse others.
England captain Harry Kane sent a powerful social media message to those who sent racist abuse to players, insisting ‘we don’t want you’.
Saka, Rashford and Sancho were all racially abused online after they failed to score spot-kicks in England’s agonising 3-2 defeat on penalties against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
Rashford saw his effort strike the post before Gianluigi Donnarumma saved from Sancho and then Saka, and the Three Lions skipper backed his team-mates and insisted those who sent abuse are not real fans.
Bukayo Saka is consoled by England team-mates following his costly penalty miss which led to racist abuse of the Arsenal star following England’s defeat
Marcus Rashford (left) and Jadon Sancho also missed spot-kicks for England in the shootout
His tweet read: ‘Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high.
‘They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night.
‘If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you.’
England manager Gareth Southgate said the racist abuse aimed at the players.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Football Association also condemned it.
‘It’s just not what we stand for,’ said Southgate.
‘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.
‘We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together.
‘It’s my decision who takes the penalties, it’s not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out.’
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