UEFA joins English soccer in weekend-long boycott against online abuse


UEFA will join English soccer players, clubs and organizations in a social media boycott this weekend to protest against online abuse.

The soccer-led boycott will also be joined by English cricket, English Premiership rugby clubs, and the British Lawn Tennis Association.

The social media silence will start on Friday afternoon until late Monday evening, and include UEFA-organized games on Sunday in the Women’s Champions League semifinals.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin used a speech last week to 55 member federations urging people in European soccer to make formal complaints about “unacceptable tweets or messages.”

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“We’ve had enough of these cowards who hide behind their anonymity to spew out their noxious ideologies,” Ceferin said last week in Montreux, Switzerland.

UEFA has also acted in cases of online abuse when players criticized match officials. Neymar and Serge Aurier both missed Champions League games in recent seasons for offensive comments about referees on social media.

The English campaign this weekend followed British clubs Rangers, Birmingham and Swansea shutting down their social media for several days.

Former France and Arsenal forward Thierry Henry also shut down his social media accounts to protest against racism and bullying.

English soccer officials have urged the British government to enact laws making social media companies more accountable for what appears on their platforms.

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