Kick It Out would again Premier League-wide boycott of social media

Paul Pogba in a 'United Against Racism' t-shirt
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is certainly one of a variety of gamers to have been racially abused on social media

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out says it could again a Premier League-wide boycott of social media in protest at on-line racist abuse.

Swansea, Birmingham and Scottish champions Rangers are boycotting social platforms for per week.

It comes after a number of current incidents of gamers receiving racist abuse on social media.

Kick It Out boss Tony Burnett says the boycotts are an indication of the “absolute disgust” felt inside soccer.

He instructed the Press Association he felt cases of on-line abuse had elevated since soccer’s governing our bodies wrote to Facebook and Twitter in February to underline modifications they need to see.

“I keep hearing stats from social media companies talking about how many posts they have taken down before they get to an individual – that’s irrelevant,” he stated.

“The posts that cause the offence and cause the hurt and cause the pain are the ones that get through.

“They’re nonetheless getting by in numbers that are simply inexplicable so not sufficient is being achieved, and I’m sick of platitudes on this, we need to see motion.

“We support football and our partners in football that are taking direct action. If that’s a boycott, fantastic, we’ll get absolutely behind you on it.”

It is known discussions have taken place between Premier League golf equipment over a league-wide boycott.

“I think we’ve gone back 20 years,” Burnett instructed BBC Sport. “We’re going to have to reconstruct how we really talk about and address issues of discrimination in the UK.

“I’ve solely been on board for 3 months, however the quantity of exercise simply in these three months has really astounded me – the variety of points we’re coping with round on-line hate.

“Not just online hate actually, because as the team quite rightly keep reminding me even before the lockdown KIO were seeing significant increases in reported incidents based on discrimination.

“So this is not simply on-line; the truth that we have not been in grounds and we’ve not had grassroots soccer I believe is hiding the truth that this can be a drawback in society.”

It comes as a leading anti-cyberbullying charity said online racist abuse is “spiralling uncontrolled”.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has given control of his Twitter account to Cybersmile to raise awareness of the impact of abuse.

The charity shared an interview with Ian Wright where the ex-England striker described the racist abuse and death threats he has been sent online.


Alistair Magowan, BBC Sport

Clubs have been discussing a league-wide social media boycott, and there are frustrations concerning the speed by which social media companies respond to incidents of abuse.

But some have questioned whether a boycott would only amount to a symbolic gesture and whether it would be better to focus on more meaningful change such as better reporting mechanisms and influencing the online safety bill.

Dialogue with social media companies will continue, but if any boycott is to occur, it is felt it would have more impact if all clubs bought into it rather than acting alone.

History would suggest that gaining that type of broad agreement may prove difficult, but there is certainly a desire from clubs to improve the situation given that players are now being abused on a weekly basis.

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