The Premier League, English Football League, Women's Super League and more are set to unite to boycott social media in a mass protest against racist online trolls.
The world of English Football will unite for a four-day social media boycott in response to online abuse and discrimination. The mass protest which will see English Football clubs switching off their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, is set to begin at 3pm on the 30th April and end at 11.59pm on Monday the 3rd of May. The timing of the blackout is intentionally placed during a pivotal stage of the season and will cover a full programme of fixtures in both Men and Women's Football.
The full list of participants in the protest include 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.
Speaking on the purpose behind the social media boycott, Kick Out chairman, Sanjay Bhandari said "Social media is now sadly a regular vessel for toxic abuse. This boycott signifies our collective anger at the damage this causes to the people who play, watch and work in the game. By removing ourselves from the platforms, we are making a symbolic gesture to those with power. We need you to act. We need you to create change."
Richard Bevan, Chief Executive at the LMA, also shared that he feels the"unified silence" of the social media blackout "will send a loud and powerful message to those who perpetrate online abuse that their actions will no longer be tolerated."
However, in a joint statement organisers recognised that the protest alone "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."
A strong emphasis has also been put on the importance of social media companies doing more to help put a stop to online abuse. You can check out English Football's open letter, addressed to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg, calling for an end to racist abuse on their platforms, by clicking here.
Organisers have also urged the UK government to take action, urging them to "bring in strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms" in regards to the Online Safety Bill.
The protest comes shortly after the European Super League was officially announced (Check out our previous blog post on the ESL here) which was met with a overwhelming amount of criticism from fans, players and football organisations. As a result of this, USL plans were quickly disbanded, proving there's immense power in people coming together and speaking out against issues they feel strongly about.
In agreement, the FA's Director of International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Co-Partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, stated "We have recently seen how powerful it can be when everybody is united for the good of the English game." He then went on to encourage "organisations and individuals across the game" to join them in their "temporary boycott of these social media platforms, to show solidarity and unite in the message that English football will not tolerate discrimination in any form."
In an interview with Sky Sports Sheffield United player David McGoldrick also referenced how quickly people were able to shut down the Super League, questioning why we can't do the same when it comes to racism, saying “the Super League got cut off in 48 hours, why is racism on the back foot? It is bigger in my eyes.”
The English Football social media boycott will take place from the 30th April-3rd May. How will you be showing your support to help eradicate online discrimination and abuse?