‘Cannot be allowed to continue’: English football announces ‘social media blackout’ to combat online racism
The various bodies who govern English football have combined to announce a boycott of social media in response to the continuing trend of players being targeted for discriminatory abuse online.
A press release issued Saturday which was undersigned by The FA, the Premier League and practically every other regulatory body in the men's and women's game in England has announced that the boycott will commence at 3pm next Saturday April 30 and will last until 11.59pm the following Monday, which they say is designed to impact the "sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others associated with football".
The blackout will see clubs essentially shut down their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for the duration of the boycott.Also on rt.com ‘Shame it’s not like this with racism’: Premier League stars break silence on Super League as Klopp admits he knew nothing (VIDEO)
The release continues, stating that the move will show "English football coming together to emphasize that social media companies must do more to eradicate online hate, while highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination."
Football has been blighted in recent years by the scourge of racial abuse online. Several players - almost too numerous to list here - have highlighted the growing problem, with others suggesting that Silicon Valley hasn't acted robustly enough to inhibit or punish those responsible.
The move comes just days after a fan-led campaign dominated social media following the ill-fated announcement of the Super League project which appeared to mobilize football unanimously against the move - with Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford later admitting that he saw it as a "shame" that the same level of opposition isn't apparent for the game's fight against racism.
"It's amazing the amount of uproar that comes in to the game when somebody’s pockets are being hurt," Bamford said following his side's 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Monday.
"It’s a shame it’s not like that when all the things that go wrong with things at the minute, racism and stuff like that.
"It’s important we stand our ground and show that football is for the fans and try and keep it that way."Also on rt.com ‘Racist insults are ignorance and only make me stronger’ – Paul Pogba responds to vile online abuse
Other footballers like Marcus Rashford have also been vocal regarding the matter, while former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright, who was also the victim of an online racist troll, spoke of his disappointment earlier this year when an Irish teenager was spared a jail sentence after a sustained series of racist messages to the football pundit.
"This case was never about revenge, it was always about consequences for acts of racism. My forgiveness of this young man was for my own deeply personal need and desire to move forward without further anguish," Wright said online.
"I'm a 57 year old man that has has experienced racism throughout my life. I wasn't expecting my forgiveness to be an invitation to lighten a sentence.
"Seeing this judgment, I can only wonder what deterrent there is for anyone else who spouts this kind of vile racist abuse.
"An individual wished death upon me because of my skin colour. No judge's claims of 'naivety' or 'immaturity' will ever be acceptable to us. The supposed immaturity and naivety of our attackers is never any comfort. So yeah, I am disappointed. I'm tired. We're all tired."
The press release also calls on the UK government to produce strong legislation to make leading social media entities more responsible for the content which appears on their websites, but admits that the "connectivity and access" which social media provides fans "remains vital".Also on rt.com ‘I’m tired. We are all tired’: Football pundit Ian Wright ‘disappointed’ as Irish teen spared conviction for racist messages
"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," said Edleen John, The FA's director of international relations.
"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."