Football chiefs call for legislation to tackle online abuse after boycott

·1 min read
Sports organisations launched a social media blackout to highlight online abuse

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."

jw/bsp