Professional footballers to boycott social media for 24 hours in racism protest

April, 2019
United Kingdom (England)

Professional footballers in England and Wales are to boycott social media for 24 hours on Friday, to protest against the way social networks and football authorities respond to racism.

It follows a number of high-profile incidents in domestic and international matches this season.

Earlier this week, Manchester United captain Ashley Young was racially abused on Twitter.

And Watford captain Troy Deeney said "enough is enough".

"On Friday we are sending a message to anyone that abuses players - or anyone else - whether from the crowd or online, that we won't tolerate it within football," said Deeney, who disabled comments on his Instagram after abuse earlier this month.

"The boycott is just one small step, but the players are speaking out with one voice against racism."

Racist chanting was directed at several England players including Danny Rose during a Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro last month - the Spurs defender later said he "can't wait to see the back of football".

"I don't want any future players to go through what I've been through in my career," said Rose. "Collectively, we are simply not willing to stand by while too little is done by football authorities and social media companies to protect players from this disgusting abuse."

The #Enough campaign, organised by the Professional Footballers' Association, starts at 09:00 BST on Friday and runs until 09:00 BST on Saturday. Players have been encouraged to post a #Enough graphic on their social media platforms before the boycott.

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling added: "The time has come for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to consider regulating their channels, taking responsibility for protecting the mental health of users regardless of age, race, sex or income."

The PFA said the boycott was the "first step in a longer campaign to tackle racism in football".

"The boycott acts as a show of unity by the players, and a call for stronger action to be taken by social networks and footballing authorities in response to racist abuse both on and off the pitch," the PFA said in a statement.

Young was abused after United's Champions League exit to Barcelona on Tuesday.

Twitter has said it is "suspending three times more abusive accounts within 24 hours after receiving a report than this time last year".

"We'll continue building on this work to prioritise the safety of our users," it added.

Source: BBC