Stars urge sponsors to support social media blackout in racism stand

Premier League stars are ready to urge their sponsors to support a social media blackout.

And other sports could join football in joining the boycott across next weekend from 3pm Friday April 30 to 11.59pm on Bank Holiday Monday, May 3.

The Football Association, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have all joined together to take a stand against the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

It is designed to urge the companies to do more to tackle online abuse in all forms of racism, sexism and any discriminatory abuse.

The players’ union, the Professional Footballers’ Association, has talked to members who are also ready to join by not posting over the weekend to raise awareness.

Marcus Rashford has been one of many players who has been the subject of racial abuse online

The likes of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has already led strong campaigns about tackling abuse and several players plus the PFA have also been talking to the main sportswear, kit makers and other sponsors about backing the blackout.

It is being left to players to decide individually about taking action but the organisations themselves will have a complete shutdown in the hope it strikes home against the companies and forces them to take action.

The anger from players is that they see the likes of Instagram and Twitter ready to clampdown quickly when they infringements on copyright issues or showing unlicensed clips – but are slow to act on abuse.

Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari has said social media has been a 'regular vessel for toxic abuse'
Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari has said social media has been a ‘regular vessel for toxic abuse’

Clubs are speaking to the players this week about how they should respond but all the 20 Premier League clubs are signed up and the EFL have also offered their support.

It is hoped that the lack of traffic plus the kick back and embarrassment raised by the campaign led by major clubs, companies and players will shame the social media firms into action.

Other sports like cricket, tennis and rugby are also watching with interest and the biggest stars from other sports have made noises about supporting the weekend of action. That could help gain momentum throughout different sports.

Prem bosses are anxious not to in any way put undue pressure on players or sports if they do not want to support it individually but they hope it will push the social media companies into action.

Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, said: “Social media is now sadly a regular vessel for toxic abuse. This boycott signifies our collective anger at the damage this causes to the people who play, watch and work in the game. By removing ourselves from the platforms, we are making a symbolic gesture to those with power.”

Mirror Sport has contacted Instagram for comment but there has been no reply.

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