English football boycott of social media begins

Chelsea Football Club, together with the The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out and the FSA,  today commenced a boycott of social media.

The boycott, which began at 15.00 today (Friday) and will run until 23.59 on Monday, is in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.

Chelsea FC is clear that there can be no place in our game, nor our society, for racism, antisemitism, homophobia, sexism or any form of discrimination. In sport, as in wider society, we must create a social media environment where hateful and discriminatory actions are as unacceptable online as they would be on the street.

We believe that social media is an important means of connecting with our fans and communities all over the world. We use our channels on social media platforms to inform and entertain, to share our stories and make you as fans feel welcome, valued and included as a part of this Club.

However, we do not believe that social media companies are doing enough to tackle hateful, abusive and discriminatory behaviour on their platforms. While some progress has been made recently, it is still far too easy to share and amplify discriminatory abuse online. We cannot sit back as players, their families, staff and fans continue to suffer the impact and effect of this senseless hate.

We therefore join the English football family in using this boycott to highlight the need for greater action from the platforms, including filtering, blocking and swift takedowns of offensive posts, an improved verification process and re-registration prevention, plus active assistance for law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute originators of illegal content.

Speaking in support of the boycott, Chelsea FC Men’s Head Coach Thomas Tuchel said: ‘It’s very important because anything we can do, any sign, any action, we should do. It’s a big problem because on social media you can write anything and nobody knows who you are. So it is a big platform for abuse and we should take any measures we can.’

Chelsea FC Women’s Manager Emma Hayes added: ‘It’s finally time to put an end to keyboard warriors that can hide behind anonymous profiles without recrimination, while people are being abused daily without consequence. I support the entire football community in our efforts to stamp out discrimination of all forms.’

Two of our players, Reece James and Christian Pulisic, have also spoken on the matter.

‘Enough is enough and it is time for the social media companies to start taking more action on the people who are stepping over the line,’ said James.

‘It has happened numerous times this season and in previous seasons and it is maybe in the press for one or two days and then it kind of just gets brushed under the mat. It is devastating to get abuse. It can really affect you and make you think twice and doubt yourself.’

Pulisic said: ‘The goal is to make a stand and put an end to the online abuse that players are receiving. It is horrible to see and so I really hope this can show we are not messing around with this, we want this to end. Nobody deserves any hate like that online.’

At Chelsea FC we also recognise that we all have our part to play and, following the boycott, we will be announcing further measures we are taking as a club to fight discriminatory abuse on social media.