English football announces total social media boycott in response to online abuse

English football has announced an unprecedented boycott of social media platforms in a bid to combat online abuse and discrimination.

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 all unite for a social media boycott, from Friday, April 30 to 23.59 on Monday, May 3.

They say it 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”.

In the joint letter, the organisations said that the boycott has been scheduled to take place “across a full fixture programme in the men’s and women’s professional game and will see clubs across the Premier League, EFL, WSL, and Women’s Championship switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts”.

The letter added: “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 round table earlier this week.”

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “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.”

It comes following continuous reports of racist and other forms of abuse aimed at footballers on social media.

Earlier this month, Swansea City football club announced a week-long boycott of social media, and Thierry Henry also left the platforms due to online abuse. 

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