Thursday, September 23

Footballers to Boycott Social Media in Mass Protest Over Racist Abuses | Football


The English professional football world will rally for an unprecedented four-day boycott of social media next weekend to protest the ongoing abuse and racism against players.

Clubs in the English Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship will disconnect their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts in response to “continued and sustained discriminatory abuse” of footballers, and their despair at the lack of action of technology companies.

The boycott of social networks will last from 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 30 to 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 3, covering a full program of matches in the professional men’s and women’s game at a vital stage of the season.

A series of high-profile racist attacks online follows, including Liverpool players Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keïta and Sadio Mané after the club’s defeat to Real Madrid in early April.

Most recently, Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings revealed that he had been attacked and posted a screenshot on his Twitter account of a racist message from an Instagram user.

The FA said the events of last week, when much of the soccer world came together to bring down the controversial European Super League, was proof of the power of sport to come together and cause change. However, the boycott is also motivated by exasperation over the response of social media platforms to racism online.

A joint statement by soccer bodies, including the FA and the four leagues involved, referred to demands made in February for social media companies to quickly block or remove offensive posts, improve account verification and offer assistance. activates the police to identify and prosecute the creators of abusive Content. Despite a series of high-profile online abuse incidents since then, the soccer world believes there has been an insufficient response.

“We reiterate those requests today in an effort to stem the relentless flow of discriminatory messages and ensure there are real-life consequences for providers of online abuse across all platforms,” ​​said the organizations statement, which also included the professional footballers. Association (PFA), the Kick It Out Anti-Racism Campaign, and the Football Fans Association.

Naby Keita training, wearing a gray training kit, in the act of heading or controlling the ball
Naby Keïta, Liverpool teammate of Trent Alexander-Arnold, also suffered abuse after the defeat of Real Madrid. Photograph: Andrew Powell / Liverpool FC / Getty Images

They also urged the government to ensure that its online security bill brings with it strong legislation so that social media companies are more accountable for what appears on their platforms.

Edleen John, director of international relations and corporate affairs for the FA and co-partner for equality, diversity and inclusion, said: “It is simply unacceptable that people in English football and society in general continue to be abused. discriminatory online on a daily basis, with no real-world consequences for the perpetrators.

“This needs to change quickly and we continue to urge social media companies to act now to fix it.”

Two years ago, several footballers participated in the #Enough campaign, a 24-hour social media boycott in protest of a similar wave of abuse. The new boycott is significantly broader in scale and ambition.

Social media platforms have become a central way for gamers to interact with fans. Some footballers’ accounts are among the largest on their chosen forums: Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling, for example, has 2.7 million followers on Twitter. However, online racism towards black footballers appears to have increased, and abuse apparently directed at players after every significant incident in which they are involved. Sterling was racially abused on social media after posting in response to his team’s recent loss to Leeds.

Richard Masters, executive director of the Premier League, said the diversity of football and its supporters was one of its key strengths. “Soccer is a diverse sport, which unites communities and cultures of all origins and this diversity makes the competition stronger,” he said.

Trevor Birch, executive director of the English Football League, said he had been pushing for collaboration between platforms, the game, the government, the police and prosecutors to protect players from the abuse they regularly face.


www.theguardian.com

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