In a bid to raise awareness and curb racism in football, a host of high-profile footballers from England and Wales have taken to social media to protest. The campaign was launched by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) using the hashtag #Enough in a post on Twitter on Thursday evening.
The PFA has stated that the campaign’s aim is to reflect the solidarity among players who have been subject to racial remarks as well as demand social media platforms and authorities to take Suo Motu cognizance on the matter.
Simone Pound, Head of Equalities at the PFA, said: “Football has the power to do so much good in the world. We must always try to use the sport’s popularity and influence to make positive change.
“Over the last few months, we have seen a rise in appalling instances of racist abuse at grounds around the world, and on social media. We cannot stand by while too little is done to address this unacceptable behaviour.
“The PFA has always been at the forefront of tackling racism and we are reaffirming our commitment to all of our members. We will do all we can to put an end to the abuse players face on the pitch and online.”
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is one among the long list of footballers which include the likes of Mohamed Salah, Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling, Michy Batshuayi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Moussa Sissoko, who have been subjected to abuse in recent times.
Speaking on the matter, Smalling said: “Throughout my career I have developed a thick skin against verbal abuse, justifying it as just ‘part of the game’ but the time has come for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to consider regulating their channels, taking responsibility for protecting the mental health of users regardless of age, race, sex or income.
Here are some tweets:
Notable football governing bodies have weighed-in with support of the campaign. FIFA’s statement on Twitter read as: “We support the initiative of the @PFA – FIFA is fully engaged in combating racism and discrimination, as clearly expressed by our President (Gianni Infantino) last week. FIFA is also preparing a concrete action with worldwide impact that will launch a strong campaign against discrimination.”
While players’ union FIFPro has also extended its support, tweeting: “Players are subjected to all kinds of hate speech on social media. #Racism is one of the ugliest forms.
“We stand with the @PFA, player associations and football players around the world.”