As the new football season gets underway, Tony Lloyd is backing plans by police and prosecutors to crack down on online abuse of players and fans.
And for the first time, new guidelines for tackling hooligans also address homophobic chanting at grounds.
Troublemakers who are given banning orders will be prevented from going to games for a minimum of three years – and will be barred from attending either the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 or Euro 2016 in France.
Tony said: “I’m a huge football fan and love the atmosphere at matches. We’ve seen real progress in recent years, particularly around racist chanting at football matches. There’s been a shift in culture and football is becoming more and more a family friendly game, with the majority of fans being well-behaved. But there are still some people – who call themselves fans, but are nothing of the sort – that bring the game into disrepute and they don’t belong in our football stands.
“Policing of social media is a new and complex area and it’s difficult to identify the culprits, which is where decent members of the public can help. These trolls hide behind anonymous Twitter handles, thinking they are untouchable, but recent cases show this is no longer the case and there is no hiding place for these ugly individuals. The criminal justice system has to be equipped to deal with this and today’s announcement is a positive step, so genuine fans can safely enjoy the game and players and supporters can be reassured that abuse will not be tolerated.
“Any decent football fan will welcome these measures as there’s no place for this kind of abuse in the beautiful game – whether in the stands or on the internet.”