1,000 signatures reached
To: The English Football Association
Ban England fans who humiliated begging children
We want the Football Association to work to identify those England fans seen humiliating children begging in France and to ban them from attending its games.
Why is this important?
Like me you were probably angered and saddened by the disgraceful scenes of English football fans in Lille mocking and humiliating begging children. One seven year old was even reported to have been forced to down a pint of beer in exchange for a handful of coins, others to fight for the 'prize' of small change.
It is possible that a number of these children were refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. Imagine fleeing your homeland, maybe losing contact with your mum and dad and walking across Europe only to be confronted by this cruelty and indignity. Wherever the children are from, the sight of wealthy men getting their entertainment from humiliating children reduced to begging on the streets was repulsive.
Like you these scenes made me feel ashamed to be English, ashamed to be a football supporter and powerless to do anything.
The French police are unable to stop this behaviour until a crime is committed. However, the Football Association does have it in their power to identify and ban supporters from buying tickets for its games and frequently works with the police to prevent them from travelling abroad. It also has the power to speak out, through its officials, manager and players, against this behaviour which shames us all. But I am writing this two days after the first reports and it has done nothing.
There is a precedent to this: earlier in 2016 PSV Eindhoven supporters were caught on camera similarly humiliating people begging in Madrid. The PSV Eindhoven club immediately issued a video and written statement promising to identify and issue banning orders to those involved. You can read their statement here:
There is no reason at all why the English FA can't do the same. By not speaking out and not pursuing those responsible the FA are effectively saying that the experience these children have gone through doesn't matter. Please sign below and let's encourage the FA to send an important signal that we have not lost our compassion and humanity and that bullying children cannot go unpunished.
How it will be delivered
When we have enough signatures we will present this to the FA.