THE Professional Footballers Association (PFA) want jail sentences as a punishment for those found guilty of racist offences at football matches, treating them as “hate crimes“.
Officials from the PFA will make their case to the government for a change in the law. They want to see judges hand down custodial terms, which they believe will act as a strong deterrent.
The move comes after several incidents which have blighted the game. Last month, at the Manchester derby, a City fan was arrested after he appeared to make a monkey gesture at United player Fred. On the same day, a League Two clash between Scunthorpe United and Forest Green Rovers was halted amid allegations of racist abuse.
On December 22, Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger claimed he was racially abused during the match with Tottenham.
Although no evidence to support the allegation was found, a man was arrested at the match after it was alleged he racially abused Spurs’s South Korean star Son Heung-min.
Following that game, PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes spoke to Sport Minister Nigel Adams, and raised the issue with Fifa and Uefa.
Now the PFA are campaigning to bring in tougher sentences.
Chief executive Gordon Taylor said: “The PFA are happy to lead on this. We will be lobbying the government to increase punishments for those found guilty of racist offences at football. That includes handing down custodial sentences. There needs to be a bigger deterrent. Enough is enough. These are hate crimes.”
Although racially aggravated offences can result in jail sentences, it is rare that they are handed down.
In 2017, a Manchester United supporter was jailed for 16 weeks after a racist attack on Raheem Sterling. Karl Anderson pleaded guilty to racially aggravated common assault. — Daily Mail