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PFA Statement: Online Abuse

England in the Euro2020 Final

Over the past few weeks, our England team have demonstrated courage and class, on and off the pitch.

They have been principled and dignified, and their determination to succeed and their performance got us to the final. Most importantly though, they have shown us what the best of England can be.

If you watch a football match, see players - who have stepped up to try and win the match for their country - miss a penalty, and you feel compelled to go on social media and racially abuse those players, you represent the worst of us.

When you abuse any of our players, you abuse all of us.

Racist abuse causes trauma. It will impact the targeted players, their teammates, and we know it will also affect their peers. It causes hurt to all the other fans who view online hate, and it will inevitably live with the next aspiring generation of young players.  

Unfortunately, the abusive messages were all too predictable. However, the intervention from social media companies is insufficient, and it is allowing racist abuse to thrive on the platforms.

Social platforms must permanently ban all offending accounts and proactively compile evidence to give to the police to pursue prosecution.

We have collectively called out unsatisfactory policies and action around racist abuse for years – and still, it continues.

There has been talk of strong commitments and tough measures from the social networks. Based on the evidence so far, we’re not buying it.

Social networks, we need you to do better.


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