Football’s major stakeholders – including Premier League and EFL – set for summit to discuss a complete social media BLACKOUT…. in protest over the rise in vile online abuse targeted at players
- Football’s major stakeholders will meet soon to discuss a social media blackout
- The Premier League and EFL will be in the talks to work out a collective approach
- A number of clubs, including Swansea, have said they will quit social media
English football’s key stakeholders are set for talks next week to discuss the possibility of staging a blanket social media blackout.
Championship side Swansea on Thursday became the first club to announce they and their players were leaving social media – for seven days – in response to the rise in online abuse and in a bid to ramp up the pressure on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to clean up their platforms.
They were later joined by second tier rivals Birmingham who followed Swansea’s lead in a show of solidarity.
Football’s major stakeholders will meet to discuss a social media blackout in protest at players, such as Swansea’s Jamal Lowe (above), receiving vile online abuse
Swansea City have announced a boycott of social media in a stand against online abuse
Scottish champions Rangers also announced their players and management, led by Steven Gerrard, would begin a week-long boycott of all social media channels from 7pm on Thursday night.
And the prospect of a collective boycott across the divisions will be among the issues on the agenda when the English game’s major authorities, including the Premier League, EFL and other main bodies, hold their next regular meeting early next week.
The idea of all teams from the top flight, Championship plus Leagues One and Two holding a one day boycott is understood to have been tentatively mooted.
Premier League clubs were on Thursday bracing themselves to be asked their views on the subject of a coordinated boycott ahead.
The issue continues to represent a major concern to top-flight chiefs who, along with expanding their own online monitoring and reporting systems, continue to push social media companies to take the necessary steps to end online abuse.
Following the moves by Swansea and then Birmingham, further discussions were held among EFL clubs to consider what action they can take as a whole.
The Premier League (chief executive Richard Masters, left) and EFL (chairman Rick Parry, right) will take part in the meeting which is set to take place next week
Swansea acted having decided enough was enough after seeing three of their players subjected to racist abuse this season.
Jamal Lowe, Yan Dhanda and Ben Cabango have all been targeted this season – Swansea’s boycott began on Thursday night at 5pm and will last until the same time next Thursday.
Rather than on social media, they will keep their supporters updated via their website.
The action is club-wide and will include all first-team, under-23, under-18s, Swansea City Ladies, their community trust, senior staff and official club social media channels.
Manager Steve Cooper said: ‘The club want to make a stance. It was a collective decision through the players, senior management staff, myself and the coaching staff.
‘We want to join in this big movement of trying to eradicate as much as we can, any form of discrimination. It’s been a powerful decision. Hopefully it’s gained a lot of traction.’
Swansea boss Steve Cooper explained the club ‘want to take a stance’ against discrimination
Thierry Henry was the first high-profile footballer to have stepped away from social media
Birmingham’s move suggested Swansea’s decision could be a catalyst across football – there will be no posts from their men’s and women’s social media channels until 6pm next Thursday.
An EFL spokesperson said: ‘Racist, discriminatory and threatening abuse online is a scourge on society that is reflected in the sustained abuse of players and people connected to our national game.
‘The football authorities have consistently challenged social media companies to use their platforms to effect change and as part of the Football Online Hate Working Group we continue to work with stakeholders to create conditions that will ensure there are real life consequences for online abuse.
‘Likewise we are supportive of any EFL club’s proactive efforts to combat hate – the merits of taking collective action were debated by clubs today with consideration being given to scheduling further activity before the end of the current season.’