- Lifestyle & Sports
- 09 Apr 21
"Making this stance together is paramount to ridding the game and society of this evil," Birmingham FC said in a statement.
Rangers FC have joined Swansea FC and Birmingham FC in their boycott of social media platforms following the consistent racial abuse of players online and on the field.
Rangers have said in a statement that the club want “clear and direct action” from social media companies after beginning their week-long boycott to combat discrimination.
Swansea took a stance over internet abuse on Thursday after three of their players were targeted, declaring “enough is enough” as head coach Steve Cooper said he hoped other clubs would follow their lead.
Birmingham and Rangers speedily followed, with the newly-crowned Scottish champions beginning their silence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at 7pm on last night.
Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara recently became embroiled in controversy after Ondrej Kudela reportedly insulted the "human dignity" of Kamara on the grounds of his skin colour and race in Rangers FC's Europa League defeat against Slavia Prague a few weeks ago.
Slavia have since filed a criminal complaint against Kamara after alleging he punched Ondrej Kudela the following day. Kudela faces a minimum 10-game ban if found guilty of racial insults, while Kamara could face a five-match ban for the reported assault after UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings.
Kamara described facing an onslaught of racist abuse on social media since his clash with Kudela.
"Rangers can confirm that as of 7pm this evening (8th April), our players and management will take part in a week-long boycott of all social media channels," a statement on Rangers’ website reads.
"This is to underline the ongoing concerns over a lack of accountability and responsibility from social media outlets."
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) April 8, 2021
Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson made his own comments of support.
"We can confirm that as a board and as a club, we are fully behind our players and management on this issue. Furthermore, we have arranged to meet Facebook and Instagram to underline our growing concerns.
"Having spoken to a wide range of clubs across the United Kingdom, we know these concerns are shared by all clubs and it is fair to say everyone is losing patience with the lack of action from social media companies," Robertson added.
"Rangers’ hope is that clear and direct action is taken from social media platforms. The basic verification of users, as part of the sign-up process, to any social media platform, will ensure that users are both identifiable and accountable for their actions and words. We will raise this next week in our scheduled meetings. Rangers has driven its flagship Everyone Anyone campaign forward rigorously, drawing praise and support from fellow clubs, governing bodies and politicians, and we will continue to stand firmly against all forms of discrimination. Enough is enough."
Robertson also urged the British government to intervene in the fight against online abuse through the creation of hate speech and internet regulation legislation.
"We would hope that social media companies recognise the benefit of verified accounts. If they don’t, it is time for government to step in and legislate. As a club, we will continue to consider all options which increase pressure on social media platforms until they begin working proactively in the interests of wider society."
This week, Liverpool FC called for "the strongest possible preventative measures" to be taken after Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane became the latest players to be targeted online.
It is utterly unacceptable. It has to stop. pic.twitter.com/ij8qykJjqU
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 7, 2021
Swansea's head coach Steve Cooper did not rule out the club exiting social platforms completely if social media companies do not address the issue properly.
"This stance has been a collective from top to bottom of the football club, and if we need to do something further then we’ll definitely have those discussions."
Birmingham became the second club to impose a week-long social media boycott, releasing a statement denouncing the abhorrent abuse directed towards players.
"Making this stance together is paramount to ridding the game and society of this evil.
"We know how players and staff at the football club use social media in both personal and professional capacities, therefore, are acutely aware of how these platforms are further becoming a hotbed for abusive, offensive and discriminatory content," the statement continued.
"We understand how social media can be used as a force for good, but at present do not recognise this trait in such arenas and believe firmly that those responsible for these platforms are not doing enough to stamp out the unacceptable abuse and discrimination that they are housing. By removing our content from these platforms, we intend to starve the perpetrators of such abusive and discriminatory behaviour of a space in which they can carry out offences that are not only criminal but deeply harmful to the well-being of groups and individuals."
Former England manager and current West Brom boss Sam Allardyce maintains that the problem of online abuse can only be defeated by football showing a 'united front':
"I would like an accumulation of football clubs across the board to all do it together. That would for me be the only way that a difference may be made, if a united front was put up by all 92 professional clubs."
Photo credit: SNS.
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 18 May 21