Scottish football’s governing bodies will unite in support of a social media boycott this weekend in response to “continuing racist and discriminatory abuse”.
Clubs across Scotland will join the Scottish FA (SFA), Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), Scottish Women’s Football and PFA Scotland for the boycott, which will last from 3pm on Friday, April 30, until 11.59pm on Monday, May 3.
Under the campaign hashtag #FootballUnites, teams will be invited to limit their posts, or refrain entirely from posting on their social media channels.
In a statement, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Discrimination of any kind has absolutely no place in Scottish football and the online abuse received by some of those involved in our national game is absolutely abhorrent.
“The SPFL is committed to ensuring that Scottish football is inclusive and welcoming to all. Players and supporters from diverse backgrounds have played, and continue to play, an enormously positive and valued role in our game.
“Diversity is part of what makes Scottish football what it is, it should be protected and championed.
“As a society, we all have a responsibility to stamp out abusive behaviour and ensure that everyone, regardless of background, can enjoy football in this country without fear of receiving hate-filled messages online.
“Social media provides a wonderful platform for clubs of all sizes to communicate with their fans. It’s a platform that our clubs have used to great effect in recent years but it is also a medium that is being abused by a vile and mindless minority.
“These cowards often hide behind anonymous accounts and it is incumbent upon social media companies to actively and aggressively combat this problem.
“The SPFL will continue to work with our member clubs and partners, including Show Racism the Red Card, the Scottish FA and Police Scotland to drive home the message that there’s no place in our game for discrimination of any kind.”
Ian Maxwell, SFA chief executive, said: “The Scottish FA is encouraged that football has united against the growing scourge of online abuse and we are proud to play our part in supporting the social media boycott.
“Through the work of our Equality and Diversity Board we have set up Football Unites, an equality framework that underlines our commitment to fairness, justice, respect, inclusion and the removal of barriers.
“At our recent summit meeting involving clubs and representatives of the game we witnessed a groundswell of people motivated to tackle inequality in all its forms.
“We are also in dialogue with social media companies to ensure adequate preventative measures are put in place to tackle the specific issue of online abuse via those channels.”
Vivienne MacLaren, Scottish Women’s Football Chair, added: “The exposure the women’s game continues to get across all media channels is extremely exciting for us all.
“What has sadly come along with this wider reach has been an increase in abusive and discriminatory language targeted at those involved in our game.
“This has been particularly prevalent on social media and we have made it very clear we will not tolerate this.
“We hope that this action reminds media owners that they must stand up to this abusive behaviour and make perpetrators think twice.”
The announcement follows in the footsteps of the governing bodies across English football, as well as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Premiership Rugby, and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), who are also boycotting.
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