Social media boycott: Premiership Rugby & English cricket joins football in move to tackle abuse



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English football and cricket clubs and institutions will boycott Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for four days

Rugby union and cricket will join English football’s social media boycott to tackle abuse and discrimination.

Premiership Rugby, clubs and the Rugby Players’ Association will be involved.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, first-class counties, women’s regional teams and Professional Cricketers’ Association have joined the protest.

Premier League and Women’s Super League sponsor Barclays and broadcasters Talksport and BT Sport will also take part in the boycott starting on Friday.

“We are committed to making Premiership Rugby a diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment for our staff, players and fans,” said Wayne Morris, the chair of Premiership Rugby’s Diversity and Inclusion Group.

PCA chief executive Rob Lynch said: “Social media companies have to do more. Our members are often victims of horrific online abuse with little or no punishment for the perpetrators and this has to change.”

England bowler Jofra Archer is among a number of athletes to have been targeted by racist abuse on social media this year.

Premier League, English Football League and Women’s Super League clubs, as well as league bodies, the Football Association and a number of other football organisations, including anti-discrimination charity Kick it Out, will be involved in the boycott of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Sports company Adidas, which manufactures more than a third of Premier League kits, including those of Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester, is stopping all advertising across its platforms this weekend.

Budweiser, which sponsors the England team, is also signing up, with online car retailer Cazoo, shirt sponsors of Aston Villa and Everton, having become on Tuesday the first major football sponsor to announce its support.

Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick, who was racially abused last year, welcomed the move when announced on Saturday, saying: “It is about time. What has gone off on social media, it has happened to me.

“It has happened to many players. Something needs to happen, it is too easily to get racially abused on there.”

The move will come three weeks after Swansea City turned off their social media accounts for a week to make a stand against abuse following a number of their players being targeted.

Championship rivals Birmingham City and Scottish champions Rangers followed Swansea’s lead in announcing a boycott of social media.

Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry removed himself from all social media in March because of racism and bullying across platforms.

The UK government has previously threatened social media companies with “large fines” which could amount to “billions of pounds” if they fail to tackle abuse on their platforms.

Facebook said in February that tougher measures would be taken to tackle the issue.

Last week, Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – announced a tool to enable users to automatically filter out abusive messages from those they do not follow on the platform.

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