Watch: Ban racists from football for life, say England fans
More than a million people have signed a petition that calls for racists to be banned from football matches for life.
There have been thousands of messages of support for Black England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, after their social media pages were targeted by those posting racist abuse in the aftermath of the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
On Tuesday evening, hundreds visited a mural dedicated to Rashford to show their backing for him.
Online abuse has not previously been covered by Football Banning Orders, but on Wednesday Boris Johnson said legislation would change to include this.
The three women - known on social media as #TheThreeHijabis - who set up the petition called "Ban racists for life from all football matches in England" said the overwhelming response shows the nation thinks enough is enough.
The three women, Shaista Aziz, Amna Abdullatif and Huda Jawad, who live near Wembley Stadium, posted their petition on Change.Org on Monday.
The trio of campaigners, who call themselves The Three Hijabis due to their heritage and dress, have since seen their petition go viral.
“To go over one million… we feel validated in our resistance to racism and that what we have been able to articulate is the sentiment that is held nationwide,” Ms Jawad, a feminist and anti-racism activist, told the PA news agency.
“This is not our petition – this is the nation speaking and saying this is not okay and enough is enough.
“It’s not about just educating people and having a softly-softly approach – this is the point where we are very clear about our red lines.”
Ms Abdullatif added: “The squad has shown us something else… a completely inspiring vision of what young people can achieve, what a diverse group of people can achieve and what met young men can be...
“We are at a moment… perhaps what we can all do is take our example from the team."
The petition described the England team as "anti-racist and inclusive".
It adds: “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.
“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.
“Our England team stood up for all of us - now we must stand up for them.”
The three women appeared on ITV’s Lorraine programme on Tuesday to discuss why they set up the petition.
Ms Aziz said: “This story is not just about racism in football. Racism is part of society, sadly, it’s part of the DNA of this country.
“Football is a reflection of society. We need to dig deep and we need to do something about this.”
Ms Abdullatif told the programme: “All of us have to act and that’s what we’re asking with this petition.
“There’s been lot of words, lots of condemnation - all great - but without action you do not see change, and these players deserve so much more than just empty words from all of us after everything they have done on the pitch and off the pitch.”
Ms Jawad said: “The beautiful game belongs to all of us, and it’s our game and the England squad has really shown us what it is like to be an inclusive team that belongs to everybody, that we’re all equal, that we all matter, that we can all make a difference.
“We’re so happy that everyone has been signing the petition. Please carry on signing it, because we want to drown out the racists and let them know that’s not okay and that we’ve got the backs of our players.”
Comedian Eddie Izzard, former England rugby player Phil Vickery, model Katie Price and TV barrister Robert Rinder are among those who have backed the petition.
A mural of Rashford in his home town of Withington, Manchester, was vandalised after the game, but the graffiti has since been covered up by supportive messages from members of the public.
On Monday, Rashford said sorry for his penalty miss but said he “will never apologise for who I am and where I came from”.
Rashford’s England team-mate, Tyrone Mings, hit out at home secretary Priti Patel, who had previously said players taking the knee before games was “gesture politics”.
She condemned the racist abuse of the three England players, but Mings tweeted a response: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”
The prime minister said on Wednesday: “I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night, and so what we’re doing today is taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning order regime is changed, so that if you are guilty of racist abuse online of footballers, then you will not be going to the match, no ifs, no buts, no exemptions and no excuses.”
The Metropolitan Police said it has launched an investigation into the online abuse.
Watch: Tyrone Mings hits out at Priti Patel over 'gesture politics' comment