Yesterday, the PFA was involved in crucial talks with players, the Minister of Sport and Secretary of State to discuss the impact of discriminatory abuse in the game, and online abuse.
Karen Carney, Renee Hector, Jordan Henderson, Tyrone Mings, Troy Deeney, Anton Ferdinand and Rinsola Babajide were invited by the Secretary of State to share their experiences, and the impact discrimination had on them.
Given the PFA called for an inquiry into discrimination in the game over twelve months ago, we consider this a welcome step. It was important for ministers to engage with the players who are the regular recipients of extreme online abuse. While football has strict regulations around discriminatory abuse - with heavy fines and sanctions for those who breach FA regulations - social media is currently unregulated. This leaves footballers, and the wider public, open to horrific abuse.
Government ministers are supportive of the work of the PFA and other football stakeholders to find solutions. Their contribution to this issue is vital to ensure greater accountability from social media platforms.
Simone Pound, PFA Director of EDI: ‘The PFA welcome the Government’s support on the pressing issue of addressing discrimination, both across football and online. The real-life experiences that players shared at yesterday’s meeting was powerful, and crucially demonstrated the far-reaching effects of discrimination and racist abuse. This is a key area of focus for the PFA’s work on behalf of the membership, and we were pleased to hear the Government’s commitment to tackle the issue.’
Liverpool FC player and captain Jordan Henderson said: “The meeting was very important and I’m pleased that those with power and authority to enact change realise the seriousness of the abuse towards players.”
Aston Villa FC player Tyrone Mings said: “I was pleased that the Secretary of State wanted to engage with, and listen to, the thoughts of us as players and ex players. Hopefully this adds context when he attempts to deliver change on behalf of us.”