We have just announced a collective Weekend of Action between 30 April – 3 May, which will include a social media boycott across football, in an aim to raise awareness of the issues surrounding online abuse and highlight the greater preventative measures required by social media platforms to stop online abuse occurring.
Tackling online discriminatory abuse is a priority for us all. Whilst we are taking action by asking social media companies to do more (as outlined in February’s open letter) we recognise that players across the game and many others connected to it from all backgrounds continue to receive sexist, racist and other forms of discriminatory abuse. We believe that football needs to unite to highlight the need for social media platforms to do more.
This is a strategically important time in the developing debate about achieving meaningful change. Following English Football’s open letter to social media companies in February, Government hosted a roundtable with the social media companies and football stakeholders on Thursday 22 April. Therefore, a collective Weekend of Action, including a social media boycott, would help make a strong and well-timed collective statement in this space.
Therefore, alongside Premier League and EFL, The FA are asking clubs across the women’s football pyramid, National Football League and grassroots game to join the ‘social media switch off’ over the weekend of 30 April – 3 May 2021. Recognising a unified approach will deliver much greater impact and reinforce our collective fight against discrimination in all its forms.
We recognise the timing of the approach is not without its challenges and that digital technology plays a crucial role in your ability to organise fixtures. As such, it’s worth clarifying that the boycott applies to social media platforms where online abuse can be posted and so the continued use of organising apps during the boycott e.g. Matchday and WhatsApp would be fine.
However, we ask clubs to stand together with English football by turning off all social media channels during this period and redirect fans to other club and FA platforms. We appreciate that this comes down to individual club choice and that some clubs may wish to protest in different ways that fit with their respective approaches to the issues and existing anti-discrimination campaigns.
As a collective, the game recognises the impressive reach and value of social media to our sport. The connectivity and access to supporters who are at the heart of the game remains vital and the value of this relationship has been demonstrated in a seismic week for us all. However, just as we have seen the game unite against the creation of a European Super League, we are calling for as many people as possible to join us on this boycott to make a united stand against online abuse.
Thank you in advance for your support – it is appreciated.