English football has announced a collective effort to boycott social media over four days in response to sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players.
The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women in Football and the FSA have united and will avoid using social media from 15:00 BST on 30 April to 23:59 on 3 May.
The move comes after players repeatedly experiencing racist abuse and discrimination following games, with the authorities calling on social media companies to eradicate online hate.
The joint-effort is designed to provoke more change from social media companies, with further calls to provide filtering, blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts, an improved verification process and re-registration prevention, plus active assistance for law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute originators of illegal content.
The focus of the boycott is at social media companies, but the joint-statement from English football’s authorities also urged the UK Government “to ensure its Online Safety Bill will bring in strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms.”
Edleen John, The FA’s Director of International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Co-Partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said: “It’s simply unacceptable that people across English football and society more broadly continue to be subjected to discriminatory abuse online on a daily basis, with no real-world consequences for perpetrators.
“This needs to change quickly, and we continue to urge social media companies to act now to address this.
“Social media companies need to be held accountable if they continue to fall short of their moral and social responsibilities to address this endemic problem.”
While Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters added: “Racist behaviour of any form is unacceptable and the appalling abuse we are seeing players receive on social media platforms cannot be allowed to continue.
“The Premier League and our clubs stand alongside football in staging this boycott to highlight the urgent need for social media companies to do more in eliminating racial hatred. We will not stop challenging social media companies and want to see significant improvements in their policies and processes to tackle online discriminatory abuse on their platforms.
“Football is a diverse sport, which brings together communities and cultures from all backgrounds and this diversity makes the competition stronger. No Room For Racism represents all the work we do to promote equality, diversity and inclusion and tackling discrimination.”