People convicted of football-related online hate crime can now receive banning orders that stop them from attending matches.
Football banning orders have been extended so that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) can ask courts for tougher penalties for online abuse involving race, sexuality or religion.
They could only previously be issued for in-person offences.
A 2021 PFA study found 44% of Premier League players received abuse online.
“Football banning orders are one of the many tools available to the justice system for imposition on offenders who are convicted of crimes related to our national game,” said Douglas Mackay of the CPS.
“This new CPS legal guidance gives prosecutors wider authority to request banning orders from the courts. It is another consequence for those guilty of shameful behaviour.
“Over recent years and months hate crimes relating to sporting events have been on the rise. The recent internal UK Football Policing Unit mid-season report has shown a significant rise in football-related criminality compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“At the CPS, we play a crucial role in tackling these crimes and making our national sport inclusive and safe to watch. There is no place for hate in football. Hate crime can have a profound impact on victims.”
Last summer, the government promised to ban people who abuse footballers online from stadiums for up to 10 years.
It followed England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka being racially abused following the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy.
Home secretary Priti Patel confirmed in January that football banning orders would be extended to cover online hate offences.
The change came into effect on 29 June.