Over 800,000 sign petition to ban racists from football in England
"We finally feel represented by this anti-racist and inclusive England team."
Over three quarters of a million people have signed a petition calling for anyone found guilty of racist abuse to be banned from football matches for life.
It comes after Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were all subjected to racist abuse on their social media accounts following England's penalty shootout defeat to Italy on Sunday.
The abuse the trio have received has sparked outrage throughout the footballing world. Rashford has since released a statement in which he said he will "never apologise for who I am."
Meanwhile defender Tyrone Mings and ex-pro Gary Neville have both called out the government for their hypocrisy in criticising the racist abuse just weeks after they refused to condemn those who boo taking the knee and labelled this as "gesture politics."
Now, a petition calling for lifetime bans from matches for all racists has gathered huge support, and is rapidly approaching one million signatures.
The petition was set up by friends Shaista, Amna and Huda, three Muslim women who went viral after Shaista shared a post on Twitter about their pride in watching England's quarter final victory over Ukraine.
Three Hijabis walk into a bar to watch the Three Lions thrash Ukraine. What an incredible evening and an absolutely brilliant win by a magnificent England team! Well done, lads! A thread on the importance of an anti-racist, inclusive #England ⚽️ team & why #RepresentationMatters pic.twitter.com/ZMSOE2KyHq
— Shaista Aziz 💙 (@shaistaAziz) July 4, 2021
The petition reads: "As multiracial 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."
It continues: "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.
"Our England team stood up for all of us - now we must stand up for them."
At the time of writing this article, the petition has reached just over 765,000 signatures. It was only set up 24 hours ago.
Edging closer to 800,000 signatories! Thanks to everyone who signed our petition calling out racism in football and those who reached out to us to share their experiences of racism. We see you and hear you. Sending solidarity all and our @England team. https://t.co/foA7Re2aFA
— Shaista Aziz 💙 (@shaistaAziz) July 13, 2021