UK sports boycott of social media to highlight racial discrimination

LONDON, 1 May 2021:

Soccer clubs in the UK yesterday began a four-day boycott of social media to highlight racial and discriminatory abuse on online platforms, starting from 15:00 BST on Friday and end on Monday at at 23:59 BST.

Leading players, athletes from other sports including Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, and several sporting bodies – including UEFA – have joined the initiative to boycott Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Rugby union, cricket and rugby league have also joined the protest

Several high profile players have been victims of racial abuse from users in recent months, and clubs are demanding more action be taken by social media companies to tackle the issue.

“There is no room for racism. Anywhere,” the Premier League said in a statement. “Not online, not in the stands, not at home and not on the streets.

“We all must come together as fans, as players and as clubs to combat discrimination wherever it exists in society.

“We know that a boycott alone will not eradicate this, which is why we will continue to take proactive steps to call for change.”

The boycott began on the same day that Manchester United and Chelsea both announced bans for supporters for sending abusive messages online.

United suspended six fans for “abhorrent” abuse of Tottenham Hotspur player Son Heung Min last month, while Chelsea banned a fan for 10 years for sending anti-Semitic online messages to a journalist.

Among the organisations boycotting Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are:

  • Football: Clubs from the Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League, Scottish Professional Football League and Scottish women’s football; governing bodies including the Football Association, Scottish FA, Football Association of Wales and Irish Football Association; European governing body Uefa; a number of other football organisationsCricket: The England and Wales Cricket Board, first-class counties, women’s regional teams and the Professional Cricketers’ Association
  • Netball: The Superleague, England Netball, Netball Players Association
  • Rugby union: England Rugby, Scottish Rugby, Welsh Rugby, France Rugby, Premiership Rugby, clubs and the Rugby Players’ Association
  • Rugby league: The Rugby Football League, Super League Europe, Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the Rugby League Players’ Association
  • Corporate bodies: Premier League and Women’s Super League sponsor Barclays, England sponsor Nationwide, Adidas; broadcasters Sky Sports, BT Sport and Talksport
  • Formula 1: All drivers
  • British Cycling, British Horseracing, Great Britain and England Hockey, and the Lawn Tennis Association are also involved.