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UK professional football to boycott social media over online racism

by editor

Professional football bodies in the UK including the English Premier League are uniting in a four-day boycott of social media.

The unprecedented move aims to force digital platforms to do more to stamp out racial abuse aimed at players.

It”s something many footballers in the UK support, especially those who have been targets of online hatred themselves, including Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings.

Liverpool’s Naby Keita, Sadio Mane, and Trent Alexander-Arnold were also singled out for abuse after the club’s defeat by Real Madrid earlier this month.

Earlier this month Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spoke publicly about the issue. “It’s social media in general,” he said.

“We obviously have the problem that so far it didn’t get sorted, that people can hide behind whatever account and say what they want to say. That’s a problem that really has to get sorted.”

Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho said: “I think it’s not even a problem of education of the younger ages. I think it’s for the media giants to make a decision and to make their fight. If they want to win that fight, they win it for all of us.”

A total of 11 male and female football groups will take part in the action. It follows a similar campaign by Swansea City, Rangers and Birmingham City two weeks ago, after several of their players were abused on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The boycott also has the support of anti-racism in football group Kick it Out. Chairman Sanjay Bhandari said: “The problem is getting worse. What it` has done is normalise [such] a climate of hate that people feel it’s okay to just jump on social media, hide behind an anonymous avatar and abuse people.”

Two years ago a scattered group of footballers backed the #Enough campaign over similar racist abuse online, but this latest boycott is more ambitious. It’s due to come into force from 3pm on Friday, April 30, until 11.59pm on Monday, May 3.

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