• Ryan Sheehan

Cityzens to join Social Media Boycott

Reading City Football Club stands in solidarity with clubs and leagues throughout the English football pyramid and will be joining in the social media boycott from 3 pm on 30th April to 11.59 pm on 3rd May.

Here at Reading City Football Club, we believe that football is for everyone and we're therefore committed to tackling all forms of discrimination whether it's on the pitch, in the stands or on social media.

We have been appalled by the recent abuse aimed at people associated with the beautiful game on social media platforms, we're therefore joining clubs across England for a social media boycott in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse that members of the footballing community are experiencing.

We will stand in solidarity with the Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, FA Women's Super League, FA Women's Championship, Professional Footballers' Association, League Managers Association, Professional Game Match Officials Board, Kick it Out and the Football Supporters' Association by boycotting social media activity between Friday 30th April and Monday 3rd May, we will also not be publishing any new content to our website (s) during this time too.

A Statement from the Football Association reads:

“We have just announced a collective Weekend of Action on 30 April – 3 May, which will include a social media boycott of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram across football, in an aim to raise awareness of the issues surrounding online abuse and highlight the greater preventative measures required by social media platforms to stop online abuse occurring.

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.

Boycott action from football in isolation will, of course, not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, but it will demonstrate that the game is willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight.

Finally, while football takes a stand, we urge the UK Government to ensure its Online Safety Bill will bring in strong legislation to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms, as discussed at the DCMS Online Abuse roundtable earlier this week.”

Edleen John, The FA's Director of International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Co-Partner for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, said: "It's simply unacceptable that people across English football and society more broadly continue to be subjected to discriminatory abuse online on a daily basis, with no real-world consequences for perpetrators.

"This needs to change quickly, and we continue to urge social media companies to act now to address this. We will not stop talking about this issue and will continue to work with the government in ensuring that the Online Safety Bill gives sufficient regulatory and supervisory powers to Ofcom.

"Social media companies need to be held accountable if they continue to fall short of their moral and social responsibilities to address this endemic problem.

"We have recently seen how powerful it can be when everybody is united for the good of the English game.

"We are calling on organisations and individuals across the game to join us in a temporary boycott of these social media platforms, to show solidarity and unite in the message that English football will not tolerate discrimination in any form."

Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, said: "Social media is now sadly a regular vessel for toxic abuse. This boycott signifies our collective anger at the damage this causes to the people who play, watch and work in the game. By removing ourselves from the platforms, we are making a symbolic gesture to those with power. We need you to act. We need you to create change. We need social media companies to make their platforms a hostile environment for trolls rather than for the football family. We need the Government to hold its nerve and keep its promises to regulate. The Online Safety Bill could be a game changer and we aim to help make that happen. There should be no space for hate and everyone can play their part. If you watch, work in or love the game, join in."

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