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Racial abuse: Cricket joins football to support social media boycott

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London, April 28 (IANS) The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) along with all 18 counties, the eight women’s regional teams and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) has decided to ‘stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the football community’ in taking part in a social media boycott from April 30-May 3 to protest against online racial abuse.

An ECB statement said on Wednesday, “In taking part in this boycott, we want to show solidarity with football and amplify its message that nobody should have to suffer abuse, racism or harassment on social media because they play, or are involved in professional sport.”

English football’s largest governing bodies and organisations, including the Football Association (FA), Premier League and EFL, had on April 25 announced a social media boycott following recent incidents of online abuse aimed at players.

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ECB chief executive officer, Tom Harrison, said, “As a sport, we are united in our commitment to fight racism and we will not tolerate the kind of discriminatory abuse that has become so prevalent on social media platforms.

“We’re proud to add our voice to all those across sport who are sending the message that more can, and must, be done to eradicate online hate,” said Harrison.

“Social media can play a very positive role in sport, widening its audience and connecting fans with their heroes in a way that was never possible before. However, players and supporters alike must be able to use these platforms safe in the knowledge they do not risk the prospect of facing appalling abuse,” he added.

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PCA chief executive, Rob Lynch, said, “The PCA is fully supportive of the social media boycott as cricket stands together with football and other sports in a show of solidarity against online abuse. Social media companies have to do more. Our members are often victims of horrific online abuse with little or no punishment for the perpetrators and this has to change.”

Lynch added that, a unified silence from players would be a powerful stance to show that “our members will not allow social media companies, which have brought so much benefit to the game, to continue to ignore and fail to prioritise the need for appropriate legislation in protecting people against online discriminatory behaviour”.

–IANS

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