Football banning orders on racist abuse online: Scottish Government says it's 'looking at what can be done' to tackle abuse on social media

The Scottish Government has said it is ‘looking at what can be done’ to tackle abuse on social media following Boris Johnson’s announcement that football banning orders in England will be expanded to include online racist abuse

A giant mural in support of three England footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka has been unveiled in Manchester after the England stars were targeted with racist abuse online (Getty).

Following recent online abuse of three black players on the England team, the Scottish Government has said they ‘fully support’ Police Scotland and prosecutors in applying Football Banning Orders (FBO’s) ‘when appropriate.’

The Scottish Government comments come after Boris Johnson announced that a FBO will be extended in England to stop racist trolls attending games for up to 10 years.

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Recently, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka faced a deluge of racist abuse on Instagram on social media after missing penalties in the Euros final against Italy.

The Scottish Government has also said it is looking into what can be done to tackle the issue of social media used for abusive purposes.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “We believe that Football Banning Orders (FBOs) are an appropriate punishment for individuals found guilty of football-related violence and disorder.

"FBOs already specifically aim to tackle offensive and abusive behaviour at football and this includes stirring up of hatred based on race, colour, nationality and ethnicity.

“We fully support Police Scotland and prosecutors to apply for FBO’s, when appropriate, to prevent violence and disorder at or connected to football in Scotland.

“We are also aware of the increasing use of social media for abusive purposes and, as part of our on-going engagement with Police Scotland, continue to look at what can be done about this issue.”

In a recent post on Instagram on Thursday, 19-year-old player Bukayo Saka called out Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for not doing enough to protect individuals from racist abuse.

Addressing these online platforms, Saka wrote: “I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received this week.

"I knew instantly the kind of hate I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”

Currently in Scotland, an offence relates to a football match if it is committed at a football match or while the person committing it is entering or leaving (or trying to enter or leave) the ground, on a journey to or from a football match.

It also relates to where it appears to the court from all the circumstances that the offence is motivated by a football match under the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006.

Police Scotland has said it is open to consultation on proposed new measures to tackle racism.

Chief Inspector Murray Starkey said: "Legislation allows for Police Scotland to apply for a Football Banning Order (FBO) to tackle football-related violence and disorder and, on conviction, Sheriffs may issue an FBO.”Racism is totally unacceptable and Police Scotland is open to participating in any consultation regarding any proposed new measures to deter and tackle this deplorable behaviour.”

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