London: English football to boycott social media between April 30 and May 3 following recent incidents of online abuse aimed at football players. The supporters of "social media boycott" includes English football's largest governing bodies and organisations,the Football Association (FA), Premier League and English Football League (EFL).
The social media boycott from 3 p.m. (1400 GMT) on April 30 to 11:59 p.m. (22:59 GMT) on May 3 comes in response to "the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football," said the Premier League in a statement, DPA reports.
"As a collective, the game recognises the considerable reach and value of social media to our sport. The connectivity and access to supporters who are at the heart of football remains vital," the statement added.
The boycott is scheduled to take place "across a full-fixture programme in the men's and women's professional game and will feature clubs across the Premier League, EFL, Women's Super League (WSL) and Women's Championship switching off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts," said the Premier League.
Premier League Chief Executive, 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."
Players from English clubs, including Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Liverpool's Sadio Mane, had recently experienced racist attacks on social media. England international Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund was also affected.
The Welsh second division club, Swansea City, and the Scottish soccer champions, Glasgow Rangers, already responded with a boycott a few weeks ago.
A host of players at Premier League clubs have been targeted in the past few months, including Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, Liverpool's Trent-Alexander Arnold and Sadio Mane, and Chelsea's Reece James.
Championship (second-tier) sides Birmingham City and Swansea City and Scottish champions Rangers recently held week-long boycotts following a spate of racial attacks on their players.
Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry said last month he was removing himself from social media because of racism and bullying, while Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has handed over control of his accounts to an anti-cyberbullying charity.
In February, English football bodies sent an open letter to Facebook and Twitter, urging blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts, as well as an improved verification process for users.
Facebook-owned Instagram has announced new measures and Twitter vowed to continue its efforts after taking action on more than 700 cases of abuse related to soccer in Britain in 2019.