European sport teams up to fight racism

·1-min read

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin feels now is the time for football and society to stand together to stop "cowards" from spreading online abuse.

European football's governing body UEFA confirmed on Thursday it would be taking part in a collective social media boycott this weekend as part of a united sporting front against racism and discrimination.

The action was initially launched by English football's governing bodies as they all suspended use of their social media accounts.

Since it was first announced, the boycott has grown as other sports governing bodies, sponsors, partners, broadcasters and media outlets came on board.

Ceferin hopes such direct action will speak volumes in the drive for change as social media channels fall silent over the weekend.

He said: "There have been abuses both on the pitch and on social media. This is unacceptable and needs to be stopped, with the help of the public and legislative authorities and the social media giants.

"Allowing a culture of hatred to grow with impunity is dangerous, very dangerous, not only for football, but for society as a whole.

"This is why we are supporting this initiative. It is time for football to take a stand."

British rugby league, rugby union, hockey, cycling, cricket, horse racing and tennis bodies are all taking part, as are many of the leading sports broadcasters in the UK.

Sir Lewis Hamilton is also ready to join this weekend's social media blackout, saying: "I am fully supportive of the initiative.

"If me doing it helps put pressure on those platforms in order to help fight against it then, for sure, I am happy to do so."