All football clubs could sign up for seven-day social media boycott next week, claims chairman

Increased calls for footballers and clubs to boycott Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in protest at online abuse

Social media abuse towards professional footballers has increased.

Premier League and EFL clubs could come together next week in a seven-day social media boycott.

That’s the claim from Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony, who says there is talk that all clubs could sign up to the boycott.

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Footballers and other sports people are becoming increasingly vocal about the amount of abuse they receive online from anonymous accounts.

Glen Kamara, of Rangers, was racially abused by Ondrej Kudela of Slavia Prague, and then received abuse on social media in the aftermath.

Championship clubs Swansea City and Birmingham City, plus players from Scottish Premier League champions Rangers – who saw Glen Kamara and Kemar Roofe abused online after the Sparta Prague game – took the decision last week to stay off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for seven days.

Thierry Henry has come off social media until action is taken.

And a seven-day countrywide blackout could be imposed by all clubs next week according to Posh co-owner Darragh MacAnthony.

MacAnthony, speaking on the latest edition of his ‘Hard Truth’ podcast, said: “I feel for the players. For them to suffer such horrific abuse in this day and age is simply unbelievable.

“There is talk of a social media blackout and we will sign up for it. It’s probably going to happen next week, but sadly the likes of Jack Dorsey (Twitter CEO) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) won’t give two hoots.

“They should be doing more to stop the root cause of the abuse.

“The other day (American politician) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suffered some criticism on social media and one of the guys who delivered it soon had the police knocking his door. Who gave the police the man’s details?

“And yet the details of the animals and the scumbags who abuse our sportsmen are hidden. Why aren’t the police knockong on those doors? Because they aren’t given the information that’s why.

“I can’t stand ‘Big Tech’. They can interfere in politics and help win elections, but they can’t do more to end this awful racism towards sports stars?

“It would be the easiest thing in the world for filters to be in place to locate certain words and for action to be taken.

“‘Big tech’ could stop the abuse in an instant, but they won’t.”

Thierry Henry has been one of the high profile figures to speak out about the online abuse. The Arsenal legend came off social media and says he won’t return until there is some form of action taken by the companies.

Premier League managers, including Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce, also spoke out last week about the increase in hateful comments directed at players, while Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson highlighted the issue in his programme notes ahead of their Champions League game against Real Madrid.

There have been widespread calls from the football industry to take collective action to force the hands of social media companies, and there are believed to have been discussions behnd the scenes about next steps.

An FA spokesman said: “We fully support any club or player that wishes to take a stand against any form of discrimination in a respectful manner, including the boycott of social media platforms.

“We are in regular dialogue with other English football authorities and, if it is felt collectively that a boycott of social media platforms would achieve the desired effect in leading to tangible change, it is something we would consider.”