Football’s governing bodies have united to urge social media giants Facebook and Twitter to do more in the prevention of online abuse.
Authorities including the Premier League, English Football League, women’s professional game and Professional Footballers’ Association have signed a letter urging the companies to do more following a series of recent incidents involving professional sports stars.
Manchester United trio Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have all spoken out on the racist abuse they have received via social media in recent weeks, whilst Chelsea’s Reece James and Antonio Rudiger have also been targeted.
Mike Dean also informed the Premier League that he did not wish to officiate this weekend, having been subjected to death threats following red card decisions over the past week with the official having notified the police.
The letter from football’s authorities states that the social media platforms have become ‘havens for abuse’ with the inaction of the companies creating a ‘belief in the minds of the anonymous perpetrators that they are beyond reach’.
The calls come after Instagram announced greater measures for tackling online abuse though there are still huge concerns regarding the measures currently in place to prevent discrimination and abusive messages.
In the letter – also signed by League Managers’ Association, Professional Game Match Officials’ Board and anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out – the actions demanded include a filter and block on discriminatory messages before they are sent, an improved verification to allow for “accurate identification” of the user if required by the police and a process to stop offenders re-registering with a new account.
Facebook told BBC Sport earlier this week that it was ‘horrified’ at the continued abuse circulated on its channels and it will be hoped the united front from football’s authorities can help combat the spread of abusive messages online.