In April 2019, we launched ‘Enough’ an action-focused campaign to address the rise in online abuse we were all witnessing - using football as a tool to promote equality and diversity within society.
The beginning of the campaign saw players boycott their social media for 24 hours, showing unity and a call for stronger action to be taken by social networks and footballing authorities in response to racist abuse both on and off the pitch.
Players recognise that these racist incidents are a reflection of societal issues. They know first-hand how damaging racism can be and are using their platforms to inspire change that will benefit players, football and society as a whole.
Since then, we have been leading discussions with social media networks, The FA, Premier League, EFL, FIFPRO, Kick It Out and the Government to influence policy change in this area. We have also called for a government inquiry into the rise of racism in football, which is directly reflecting the political climate.
In the last year, we have seen a sharp rise in racist incidents aimed at footballers, both on the pitch and online.
Recent public comments from players explaining the isolation they felt following racist incidents are a stark reminder of the impact racism – and the industry’s reaction to it – can have. This has to change.
In October 2020, a PFA Charity report into online abuse aimed at professional footballers revealed significant blind spots in combatting online abuse, while 43% of Premier League players in the study experienced targeted and explicitly racist abuse. The PFA Charity’s study, in partnership with data science company, Signify Group, and supported by Kick It Out, used machine learning systems to analyse messages sent publicly via Twitter to 44 high profile current and former players from across the top divisions of English Football.
During the six weeks of ‘Project Restart’, Signify analysed 825,515 tweets directed at the selected players, identifying over 3,000 explicitly abusive messages. 56% of all the discriminatory abuse identified during the study was racist.
We want to ensure all players are aware that the PFA Charity's Equalities department exists to:
- Fight discrimination and inequality within football.
- Protect professional football players facing discrimination issues.
The players continue to be our absolute priority.
If you ever experience racism as part of your football career, we are here to support you in the following ways:
- If you have experienced racist abuse and it is affecting your wellbeing, we have a network of counsellors you can talk to confidentially about how you are feeling.
- If you want to know what action you can take following a discriminatory incident, we can advise you on what protocols are in place to protect you, and how you can access them.
- If you are involved in a discriminatory incident on-field, an FA investigation will be launched. As part of this, you are entitled to PFA representation from the outset – we strongly recommend you take up this option.
We will continue to lead the industry in fighting discrimination, but we are also always available on a one-to-one basis to support you, whenever you need it.
To report an incident, access support or for more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org