Club to join social media boycott this weekend

Club to join social media boycott this weekend

South Shields Football Club can confirm it will join clubs, leagues, players, organisations and other football stakeholders from across the country by partaking in this weekend’s social media boycott.

The action is in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.

The boycott will begin at 3pm on Friday, April 30 and end at 11.59pm on Monday, May 3, between which times we will not be posting on social media.

Should the club have any news to communicate with supporters during that period we will post items on our website, and supporters who have any queries over the weekend are asked to email us at info@southshieldsfc.co.uk. We will also continue to monitor private messages on social media, but will not respond to any posts which are public.

Recent cases which have been highlighted by the wider media of the online abuse suffered by those within the game have rightly sickened all right-minded people and the time for action has long since arrived.

For too long, individuals have been able to perpetrate such abuse with little prospect of consequences, and this must change. Social media can be a powerful place for positive reasons, as has been demonstrated by outstanding ambassadors for our game such as Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson over the last year, and should not be a vehicle for hate and bile to be spread.

Social media is valuable to us as a club as a way of communicating with our incredible supporters, and we are thankful that our players and staff have extremely rarely been on the receiving end of such abuse. It is vital that this connection remains firm and access to supporters who are at the heart of football is strengthened, but at this time it is equally important that the sport comes together to emphasise that social media companies must do more to eradicate such hate when it does appear, and that the importance of educating people in the ongoing fight against discrimination is highlighted.

It cannot be denied that this boycott in isolation will not eradicate the scourge of online discrimination and abuse, but it will demonstrate that the game is willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight.

We apologise to supporters that our social media channels will be silent this weekend but appeal for understanding as to why this is such an important issue.

We will return to social media next week in the hope that the actions of those across the sport have had a meaningful impact, and perhaps prompted social media companies to look again at the measures they can implement to reduce the prospect of their users being faced with such unimaginable bile.

It’s time to unite. It’s time for action. It’s time for the abuse to stop.