English football coalition to boycott social media in show of solidarity against racism
A coalition of the largest governing bodies and organisations in English football are set to go dark on social media next week in a show of solidarity against racism.
Organisations including the Football Association Premier League, EFL, The FA Women's Super League and Kick it Out are set to suspend all use of social media accounts from 3pm on Friday April 30 until 11:59pm on Monday, May 3.
PA news agency reports that Sky Sports, who are partnered with Kick It Out, are supportive of the social media blackout. BT Sport are also poised to join the boycott, according to a report in the Mail On Sunday.
The move follows social media blackouts by Swansea, Birmingham and Rangers in recent weeks, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson stating he would be willing to follow Arsenal great Thierry Henry in coming offline altogether in protest against racist behaviour.
This prior action came after footballers Yan Dhanda, Ben Cabango and Jamal Lowe were all targeted, while Marcus Rashford, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings have also suffered racism recently.
A joint statement from the organisations staging the boycott read: "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 will unite for a social media boycott from 15.00 on Friday 30 April to 23.59 on Monday 3 May, in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.
"This has been scheduled to take place across a full fixture programme in the men's and women's professional game and will see clubs across the Premier League, EFL, WSL and Women's Championship switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
"As a collective, the game recognises the considerable reach and value of social media to our sport. The connectivity and access to supporters who are at the heart of football remains vital.
"However, the boycott shows English football coming together to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate online hate, while highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination."
Additional reporting by PA.