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Football chiefs call for legislation to tackle online abuse after boycott

London (AFP) – England’s Football Association has called on the government to introduce legislation to compel social media companies to do more to stamp out online abuse after a four-day boycott to highlight the issue.

A number of players including Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and Chelsea full-back Reece James have been racially abused in recent months.

Clubs, players and governing bodies observed a blackout from 1400 GMT on Friday until 2259 GMT on Monday that was also supported by other sports, businesses and media outlets.

An FA statement, also posted by England captain Harry Kane, said the boycott of social media was to “demonstrate our collective anger. But this won’t eradicate abuse on its own.

“We will continue to challenge social media companies to make changes to their platforms, urge government to introduce strong legislation quickly and request that individuals call out and report online abuse when they see it.”

The Premier League and English Football League called for social media companies to take definitive action to end all forms of abuse.

“English football, sporting organisations and people across the world united over the weekend to boycott social media, challenging platforms to do more to stop online discriminatory abuse,” they said in a statement.

“We now call on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to use their power to effect change and ensure there are real-life sanctions for online hate.

“We invite these social media companies to respond to our requests for action.”

Manchester United tweeted: “The boycott is over. Our work to challenge and eradicate all forms of discrimination is not.”

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  1. JP

    May 4, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Legislation to tackle the issues of internet trolls and bigots?

    Simpler to ignore the trolls or just get off social media. This is absurd. It’s possible to use social media without interacting with all the idiots on there. No need to read all the messages and DM’s and “mentions” and whatnot.

  2. Don Dickerson

    May 4, 2021 at 9:50 am

    The only problem is WHO gets to decide what is deemed offensive. Or exactly what words should be deemed off limits. I think they will deem the really offensive stuff but then when it comes down to where the line is people will try to get as close to said line as possible. Then do the goal posts move because the next group of players find those words offensive. Will the phrase (You Sucked today/tonight) be outlawed.

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