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Online Abuse: The World Needs to Change

FanHub Content Writer Josh gives us his thoughts on the sad and avoidable events that happened after England’s defeat on Sunday.

First and foremost, I am proud of what my country achieved this year.

After over 15 months of pain with numerous lockdowns, seeing my country in a final of a European tournament with thousands of passionate fans in attendance really put a smile on my face. An incredible atmosphere no matter where you were and a real sense of togetherness during the build up to the game.  

I could go on for days listing the number of positives we can take from this tournament; however, the defeat last night once again highlighted the negative side of football. The disgusting side of football. Online abuse. Just minutes after Saka’s penalty was saved, his social media was filled with vile, disgusting and embarrassing comments and racial slurs. I want to say this is the minority, but unfortunately until the minority is non-existent, the issue is still there. It makes me feel physically sick. How much has to be wrong in your head for the colour of someone’s skin to be the reasoning behind your comment after a missed penalty? 

The accounts behind these vile messages are almost always nameless, faceless and untraceable. A case of the account getting banned before the culprit is able to make a brand new account hours later. What will it take for this to end?

Online abuse isn’t a joke. It’s not clever. It’s downright disgusting. Imagine being in Saka’s shoes right now. Missing the decisive penalty at 19 years old is enough to make you want the floor to swallow you. However, the online abuse can and has tipped people over the edge before.

What needs to happen? Punishments. Severe punishments. These ‘people’ know they can’t be caught therefore have no consequences to face. It’s time for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and co. to force people to provide ID for accounts. These people need to be tracked down and punished hard; otherwise, this will never end. 

To put this in perspective, a man was recently jailed for 18 months for providing illegal streams of Premier League football. Yet someone who was caught making racist gestures and comments was fined and took a slap on the wrist. 

We are in 2021 and racism is becoming more and more common because of this. It’s disgusting. 

Saka, Rashford, Sancho; we are proud of you. You gave us some of the best memories we have ever had as England fans. We win together, we lose together.  

More importantly, we fight this together.

If you’re sick and tired of social media giants cashing in on your data and content and ignoring racial abuse, take a look at https://changethegame.uk/.

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