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FIFA to boycott social media for a day to take a stand against racism

FIFA will be joining the Professional Footballers’ Association, and several well-known football stars, in a 24-hour social media boycott to push for greater moderation by the platforms, making a stand against racial discrimination.

In a statement to Associated Press, FIFA said that it is preparing to write to all 211 member associations and the six confederations to encourage them to adopt a three-step procedure which allows a referee to stop play, suspend a game and ultimately abandon the fixture if discriminatory abuse persists.

Last month, England and Tottenham defender Danny Rose faced monkey chanting and stone throws from the stands during his pre-match warm up at the Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro. The player has since publicly said, which is then reported by media outlets, that he “had enough” of the racial discrimination in the football industry and called attempts by authorities to punish perpetrators “a farce.”

Other football players such as Ashley Young and Troy Deeney were also targeted with racial insults on social media in recent weeks. Young and Deeney has 2.4 million and 149,000 followers on Twitter respectively. Rose, on the other hand, is not active on Twitter, with only 12 tweets made in 2014. In response to the incidents, The Professional Footballers’ Association started an online campaign hashtag #Enough and has rallied several Premier League stars to boycott Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a day from 19 to 20 April.

Racial discrimination has plagued the football industry for a long time and it is not uncommon for sports organisations to campaign against it.

Anti-discrimination body Kick It Out first started in 1993 as “Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football” before it widened its scope to combat all aspects of discrimination. The organisation currently has 74,800 followers on Twitter. On 30 March, Premier League unveiled the “No Room for Racism” campaign, which will see Kick It Out and campaign advertisements running across various mediums.

As part of Manchester United’s commitment to equality under its #allredallequal campaign, the club is also standing behind the efforts by Kick it Out and Premier League to combat racism. According to its website, it put in place a number of dedicated campaign materials highlighting the “No Room for Racism” campaign and acknowledging Kick It Out’s 25th Anniversary during the recent tournament against Watford. Both captains also wore a Kick It Out armband.

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