FA meets Oxford councillor Shaista Aziz over anti-racism petition

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Shaista AzizImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Shaista Aziz set up the petition with two friends after England's loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final

A woman calling for people found guilty of racist abuse to receive lifetime bans from football matches has said she had "constructive" talks with the FA.

Shaista Aziz, a Labour councillor in Oxford, met the governing body's representatives after being involved in a petition urging action that was signed nearly 1.2 million times.

It came after some of England's black players were targeted online after missing penalties at Euro 2020.

The FA has condemned the racism.

Ms Aziz said she wanted "accountability from the FA" and to know what its plans were to "drown out racism".

"Racism doesn't happen in silos - there's context behind it and football cannot be hijacked as a vehicle by racists," she said.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Bukayo Saka returned to training with Arsenal this week to find hundreds of messages from fans after his performances at Euro 2020

She added that the "very constructive" talks would continue at a second meeting soon and hoped to also have discussions with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Mark Bullingham, the FA's chief executive, said that "a key pillar of our strategy is to use our influence to deliver a game free from discrimination".

The FA has power to take action only against participants in the game, such as clubs, and has publicly supported proposed legislation aimed at tackling online abuse.

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