EXCLUSIVE: West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady called to assist the Government with delivering an Online Safety Bill that could be in place NEXT YEAR following pressure from anti-discrimination group Kick It Out
- The Government see Karren Brady’s 30-year football experience as invaluable
- Hopes are the bill could be in place as soon as next year to combat online abuse
- Spurs’ Son Heung-min is the latest high-profile victim of social media abuse
Whitehall chiefs have come under major pressure to accelerate the long-awaited legislation after Kick It Out called on the Government to pass the new laws which, it is hoped, will eradicate online hate as soon as possible.
Spurs forward Son notched the second goal in his side’s 2-0 London derby win over the Hammers on Sunday – but it later emerged that the South Korean had been targeted with disgusting online racist abuse.
The north London club described the discrimination as ‘reprehensible’ and reported the posts to the police.
Karren Brady’s 30 years experience will be used to assist with the Online Safety Bill
Tottenham’s Son Heung-min was the latest victim of racist social media abuse at the weekend
And it can revealed that Brady, in a joint capacity as a member of the House of Lords and a football expert, was a key delegate in a recent conference call aimed at discussing how best to deliver the new statute.
Brady has a 30 year history in professional football and her experience has been identified as a valuable asset by Whitehall as they look pass the new laws.
Indeed, sources have indicated the Government are keen to continue using Brady’s expertise amid hope the bill will be enforceable by 2024.
While the Government recognise the Online Safety Bill will have a far wider societal impact than football, there is a recognition the national sport, given the worrying trend of footballer abuse, should be a key influencer in shaping the new laws moving forward.
West Ham, who have taken a zero tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination, are actively supportive of the Online Safety Bill, in line with the club’s key objectives as an equity leader in the Premier League.
Son is the latest in a recent spate of worrying examples of players receiving racial taunts online.
Earlier this month, Birmingham colleagues Troy Deeney and Neil Etheridge were targeted, while Brentford striker Ivan Toney also received racist insults following his team’s 1-1 draw at Arsenal.
‘We are disgusted to hear reports of online abuse targeted at Heung-Min Son following Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League game against West Ham on Sunday,’ a statement from Kick It Out read on Monday.
‘Seven days previously, Brentford striker Ivan Toney was racially abused on social media; now it is Heung-Min Son.
Another Premier League star in Brentford’s Ivan Toney was also targeted earlier in February
Birmingham City duo Neil Etheridge (left) and Troy Deeney have also been recent targets
‘Both have been targeted in the past. The longer it takes social media companies to take action, or government to pass the online safety bill, the more players will be abused.
‘Are players just expected to take the abuse while we wait for reform? Players should not be victims, they need better protection online, and this is why change needs to come quickly.
‘We will continue to work tirelessly with our partners across the game to ensure that those responsible for perpetrating discriminatory abuse face the strongest possible consequences for their actions.’
Tottenham have also called on social media companies and authorities to take action.