TV giants Sky Sports and BT Sport plan to join Premier League’s boycott for entire round of fixtures next weekend after clubs announce social media blackout for entire round of May Bank Holiday fixtures… including for Manchester United vs Liverpool
- Premier League clubs will have a complete social media blackout next weekend
- TV companies Sky Sports and BT Sport are set to join the top-flight sides
- Talks will take place on Sunday on the broadcasting giants’ involvement
- Next weekend’s fixtures include Manchester United’s derby with Liverpool
Sky Sports and BT Sport are planning to join English football’s social media boycott as part of the war against racist abuse online.
As The Mail on Sunday first revealed, Premier League and Football League clubs, as well as the FA and PFA, will unite in a widespread blackout of social media platforms this weekend.
It was announced on Saturday night that for an entire round of fixtures from 3pm on Friday April 30 until midnight on Monday May 3 clubs will switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. This will include Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Liverpool.
Sky Sports and BT will join English football’s boycott of social media against online abuse
BT will join Sky in talking part in talks to discuss how they will join the protests against abuse
Football has come together to say enough is enough following a rise in players being targeted and to urge social media companies to do more to stop it.
The Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship, the League Managers Association, Football Supporters Association, referees’ group Professional Game Match Officials Limited, and anti-racism charity Kick It Out have all joined the boycott.
Clubs have also encouraged their players and staff to take part. Multiple clubs have also told this paper that they want to see media organisations join them in their boycott.
BT Sport and Sky Sports are expected to join the protest, sources at the broadcasters told the MoS. They are due to hold talks on Monday to finalise the details of how they will play their part.
Premier League clubs will unite in a widespread blackout of social media next weekend
It will also coincide with the launch of BT Sport’s own anti-racism initiative called Draw the Line, which will see the broadcasters encourage their presenters, pundits and others to report and block any abuse content while Sky are in the first of a three-year partnership with Kick It Out.
The MoS led calls for a boycott in February when former cabinet minister and head of the football task force David Mellor urged clubs to use their power and step away.
It is understood that the idea first emerged among Championship clubs, who were prepared to stage an earlier boycott but whom agreed to wait for the rest of the sport to join in. The feeling was that a united stance would send the strongest message.
Both Man United and Liverpool will switch off their social media accounts for their fixture
Brentford were one of the clubs who led the talks at an EFL board meeting on April 8 after striker Ivan Toney was abused following their game against Birmingham two days earlier.
Bees chief executive Jon Varney told The Mail on Sunday: ‘If we want to unite everyone against this despicable situation, we needed to do it together. Football coming together is incredibly powerful.
‘Ivan has been front and centre of the abuse. He is a colleague and a friend and we want to support and protect. Social media companies need to get their house in order.
Brentford led talks at an EFL board about a blackout following abuse aimed at Ivan Toney
‘We have worked hard to keep ours in order, banning people from stadiums. They need to do the same. You cannot have these gutless and cowardly people sitting in the shadows, sending abuse and getting away with it. Enough is enough.’
Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, said: ‘We and our clubs stand alongside football in staging this boycott to highlight the urgent need for social media companies to do more in eliminating racial hatred.’
Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out chair, added: ‘This boycott signifies our collective anger at the damage this causes to the people who play, watch and work in the game.’