In an unprecedented manner, English football has unanimously made a public announcement of a decision to abstain from social media over “response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online”.
This will be held across a full fixture programme in both the men’s and women’s professional game.
It is expected that clubs across the Premier League, English Football League, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship will not post or reply on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts from Friday, April 30, through Monday, May 3.
This is the first time English football will be coming together in this manner to protest online abuse.
A joint statement was issued by the Premier League on behalf of all the English football bodies on Saturday night.
The statement reads in part;
“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 will unite for a social media boycott from 15:00 BST on Friday 30 April to 23:59 BST on Monday 3 May, in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football,”
“This has been scheduled to take place across a full-fixture programme in the men’s and women’s professional game and will feature clubs across the Premier League, EFL, WSL and Women’s Championship switching off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“As a collective, the game recognises the considerable reach and value of social media to our sport. The connectivity and access to supporters who are at the heart of football remains vital.
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“However, the boycott shows English football coming together to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate online hate, while highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination.
“Boycott action from football in isolation will, of course, not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, but it will demonstrate that the game is willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight.
“Finally, while football takes a stand, we urge 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, as discussed at the DCMS Online Abuse roundtable earlier this week.”
It became imperative for English football bodies to take such drastic steps due to the recent increase in abusive messages being sent to players online.
Manchester United trio of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe, Reece James of Chelsea, and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane have been targeted with racist abuse online in recent months