Football teams, players and organisations demand end to racism on social media as 4-day boycott finishes

Credit: PA

Football organisations, clubs and players have jointly called for social media companies to take definitive action to end online abuse and stamp out racism on their platforms at the end of their social media boycott.

The four-day boycott saw much of British football refrain from posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat in an attempt to force social media giants to take action on racism on their platforms.

“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,” said a statement posted by the Premier League and its member clubs.

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

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

England captain Harry Kane and several Premier League clubs posted a statement on Twitter with the hashtag #StopOnlineAbuse.

The statement said they would continue to challenge social media companies to make changes to their platforms and also urged the government to intervene.

Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett told Sky News: "Enough is enough. If change doesn't happen, we're going to keep campaigning for the four things we have demanded - more prevention, so [harmful] stuff doesn't get onto the platforms and is taken down quicker.Kick It Out as well as England's top sporting organisations want social media platforms to introduce better account verification, dole out harsher punishments to those who commit racist abuse and for the government to hold social media companies to account.

At the end of the boycott, Leicester City posted a video of their men's and women's players calling for an end to online abuse.

On the same day the boycott ended Swansea City was forced to defend one of its players, Morgan Whittaker, after he was subjected to racist abuse after his side's win over Derby.

Whittaker said: “I am disappointed, but not surprised. I will always be proud of my skin colour, no matter what. Social Media has to do something to stop this kind of abuse from happening.”

He is the fourth Swansea player to suffer racial abuse online recently.

Morgan Whittaker said he was "unsurprised" by the racist abuse he received online. Credit: PA

The club said in a statement: “The fact that this has happened across a period where clubs, players and stakeholders have come together for a boycott of social media for this very reason again shows just how much work still needs to be done."While the boycott was centred on football, many other sports and organisations took part including England and Wales Cricket and Sky Sports.

Major sports sponsors such as adidas, Barclays, Budweiser and Nationwide also signed up.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the FA, joined the boycott. Ahead of the 3pm start on Friday, Prince William tweeted: “As president of the FA I join the entire football community in the social media boycott this weekend. W”