No Room for Racism Marcus Rashford Manchester United Premier League 2020-21Getty/Goal composite

Why are Premier League clubs boycotting social media? English football’s blackout explained

English football will unite in social media silence this weekend as Premier League clubs join their counterparts in the FA, EFL and the Women's Super League in protest.

A boycott of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has been planned across the game in England in order to highlight issues of discrimination and abuse endured by footballers online.

That means games such as Manchester United versus Liverpool and Newcastle United versus Arsenal, which take place this weekend, will not be promoted on social media.

Here is everything you need to know about English football's social media boycott, including what it is about, when it starts, how long it will last and which organisations are involved.

Why are Premier League clubs boycotting social media?

The social media boycott has been organised by the various stakeholders in English football as a protest against racism and other forms of discriminatory abuse online.

A statement from the Premier League explained that English football was coming together in solidarity "to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate online hate, while highlighting the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination."

As well as calling for the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to work harder on the problem, those staging the boycott have also urged the UK government to ensure that its Online Safety Bill will establish legislation that forces social media companies to be more accountable for what happens on their platforms.

Ahead of the boycott, Premier League chief Richard Masters said: "Racist behaviour of any form is unacceptable and the appalling abuse we are seeing players receive on social media platforms cannot be allowed to continue.

"The Premier League and our clubs stand alongside football in staging this boycott to highlight the urgent need for social media companies to do more in eliminating racial hatred.

"We will not stop challenging social media companies and want to see significant improvements in their policies and processes to tackle online discriminatory abuse on their platforms."

The PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women's Championship, Women in Football and the FSA will join the FA, Premier League, EFL and Women's Super League in the boycott.

When does the Premier League social media boycott start?

Premier League clubs will commence their boycott of social media at 3pm BST (10am ET) on Friday April 30, 2021.

How long will the Premier League social media boycott last?

The social media boycott will last for four days, beginning on Friday April 30 and concluding at 11:59pm BST (6:59pm ET) on Monday May 3, 2021.

Will other clubs & organisations join the protest?

European football's governing body UEFA will also join the social media protest, throwing its weight behind the boycott this weekend.

"There have been abuses both on the pitch and on social media. This is unacceptable and needs to be stopped, with the help of the public and legislative authorities and the social media giants," said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. 

"Allowing a culture of hatred to grow with impunity is dangerous, very dangerous, not only for football, but for society as a whole."

The European Clubs Association (ECA) has also backed English football's initiative, saying: "We stand with the English football community by supporting the boycott of social media this weekend and the campaign to eradicate online hate."

The PFA has urged brands, sponsors and players to join the boycott, saying: "As players, your collective voice and influence has the power to hold multinational companies to account and sends a powerful message to a global audience - abusive behaviour is unacceptable.

"The PFA is also calling on major brands and sponsors, who work with players, to switch off and pull their funding on the platforms during the boycott.

"We know from our members' first-hand accounts that online hate causes trauma. The impact of the abuse can also extend to family members and impressionable fans. We want more significant levels of action from the social media companies and platforms to take greater responsibility for tackling racism and discrimination on their channels.

"Football is calling for the use of filtering, blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts, improved verification processes and re-registration prevention."

There has also been solidarity from the likes of  EA Sports , with its  FIFA accounts going silent for the weekend, as will those of management simulation game  Football Manager .

What is Goal doing?

Goal will not be posting anything about English football on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram channels for the duration of the social media boycott, from Friday afternoon until Monday night.

Instead, we will use our platforms to highlight the ongoing issues of racism, discrimination and abuse experienced by people online, while promoting a number of anti-discrimination initiatives.


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