Key football authorities come together to continue fight against online hate.
Key football authorities and organisations, including Kick It Out, PFA, Premier League and The FA, have come together to continue their fight against online hate.
Convened by Kick It Out, a range of football, media and law enforcement organisations met with social media companies to discuss how to tackle online hate in football, and agree further necessary action required against online discriminatory abuse. Those included in the discussion were representatives from Kick It Out, PFA, Premier League, The FA, EFL, League Managers Association, UK Football Policing Unit, Women in Football, Crown Prosecution Service, Home Office and Sky, alongside Twitter and Facebook.
The aim of the initial meeting, which will be a regular fixture moving forward, was to discuss how football and social media can be places where everyone feels they belong, and what action needs to be taken to make that happen. This meeting builds on previous discussions that have taken place between football authorities and social media companies and the existing work undertaken by the football bodies to report and remove offensive messages.
The group identified a set of common principles which will drive their working agenda moving forward. The principles include that: football and social media should be places where everyone feels that they belong; discrimination, hate and abuse towards those who play, support or work in the game is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated; online and offline hate must have real-world consequences for perpetrators and individuals should be held accountable for their actions.
The group commit to working together transparently as a collective, to develop solutions. They will collaborate to share resources and ideas as swiftly as possible to combat discriminatory behaviour, and will use the power of their collective voices to campaign, challenge and educate individuals to make social media a safe and enjoyable space for all. They will also commit to meeting bi-monthly, working on tangible solutions, and will monitor and communicate progress to the public as this critical work progresses.
Sanjay Bhandari, Executive Chair at Kick It Out, who chaired the discussion, says: “Online hate thrives because there is a culture of impunity – people feel free to say what they want because they are confident there will be no consequences. That must change. Online hate must have real-world consequences. We will only change that culture by working as a team and we will now meet on a regular basis as a working group to drive change. I welcome the commitment of football and social media to turn words of intent into meaningful action.”
Richard Masters, Premier League Chief Executive, says, “Online discriminatory abuse is unacceptable and tackling this issue must be a priority for football and social media companies. We have made progress in this area through our own central reporting system, which we launched to support players, managers and their families who have been victims of discriminatory online abuse. We investigate each reported case and take legal action where appropriate. Sadly, there are too many instances of footballers and their families receiving horrific discriminatory messages and nobody should have to deal with this.
“The Premier League welcomes this initiative as a means of persuading social media companies to remove offensive material swiftly and help the Premier League and law enforcement bodies identify perpetrators. We take this extremely seriously and, working together with our partners across football, the police, Crown Prosecution Service and social media companies, we are committed to taking action to fight online abuse and show discrimination will not be tolerated in our sport.”
Kick It Out also launched their Take A Stand campaign earlier this season, which is encouraging people across the football community to take action or make a pledge, in the fight against discrimination. For those who would like to make a pledge, either individually or as an organisation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also make a pledge by joining the conversation on social media, just use #TakeAStand and tag Kick It Out in your posts. And if you see, hear or receive abuse, report it at kickitout.org.