Social Media Blackout

From The FSA

Yesterday evening we received an invitation to support and join a social media boycott next weekend, which has now gained the support of the FA, Women's Super League and Championship, the Premier League, the Football League, PFA, PGMOL, LMA and Kick It Out. It is in protest against discriminatory and other abuse on social media against players and others in football (including of course fans), and the lack of effective action to eliminate this. All of the supporting organisations will not use any of their social media platforms over the whole of next weekend.

We are of course totally on board with the overarching principle of tackling social media discriminatory and other abuse. We understand that the main push for this has come from the players, supported by their clubs, rather than owners, and we are mindful of how some players were willing this week to make their voices heard on the ESL this week, and might appreciate reciprocal support. We are satisfied that it is not in any way an attempt by those proposing and supporting it to divert attention from the topical debate this week about football reform. The EFL in particular were most keen to have us on board.

A sunny Saturday when games are being played is certainly not the ideal time for us to take a decision on a matter like this, which I would normally wish to be considered through our usual processes. The boycott has however been planned at short notice and is being announced at 10pm tonight through the attached press release, so if we wished to sign up we had to decide today. We therefore discussed it in our internal media group, and decided to support it. It also embeds our case for being centrally involved in discussions of this type in future.

The purpose of this email is to let you know about the boycott and the background to our decision to support it. It is of course entirely a matter for our member organisations whether they also wish to support it and take similar action, but any such support will of course be most welcome.

I stress that just because we aren't doing social media over next weekend doesn't mean that we will take our foot off the gas in terms of campaigning/lobbying during the week ahead and if necessary over next weekend (a social media boycott does not preclude special ebulletins, Zoom calls, Network messaging etc etc).

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