English football to stage social media boycott in response to online abuse

English football’s clubs and governing bodies have announced a four-day social media boycott next weekend in response to online abuse directed at players and others.

Marcus Rashford takes the knee, Image credit: Twitter
By Amruth Kalidas | Apr 25, 2021 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us


In reaction to the ongoing and sustained bullying of players and those associated with the game online, football clubs and players across England will go offline on social media next weekend. From the afternoon of April 30 to the end of May 3, the top men’s and women’s leagues in England will not upload to their social media pages. The teams are likely to follow suit.

A joint announcement of the boycott came on Saturday (April 24) from numerous organisations involved in the game. This included the Professional Footballers’ Association, the Premier League, the Football League, The FA, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship.

The boycott

The boycott comes on the heels of the popular uprising that led to the collapse of the European Super League earlier this week. Players speaking after Saturday’s Premier League games said this  move was overdue in curbing online harassment.

“The players, we get a lot of abuses online.  It is not normal, we need to fight it, and I think that is a good way to do it,” Brighton’s Neal Maupay told Sky Sports. “It’s definitely getting worse. People are crossing the line too many times now, too often, so we need to carry on fighting it and at one point we will get rid of it.”

Players including England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford have said they have been victims of abuse. Thierry Henry, who played for France and Arsenal, called for “accountability” before deactivating his Twitter account in March.

The move comes two months after football organizations including the FA sent a letter to the chief executives of Twitter and Facebook, to highlight rising “levels of vicious, offensive abuse from users.”

“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,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said.

Beside the boycott, English soccer leaders are urging the British government to enact strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what appears on their platforms.



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