Racism has reared its ugly head in football over recent months and a player-led movement is attempting to hit back
Footballers across the United Kingdom and further afield have joined the #Enough campaign on social media.
Stars such Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard and Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale are involved, as well as the Premier League’s biggest clubs and more.
But what exactly is the campaign all about?
Organised by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the #Enough campaign will see footballers from England, Wales and across the world boycott social media for 24 hours to highlight the problem of racism .
It is a response to an apparent upsurge of racist incidents in football, with a number of elite-level players across the world being subjected to discriminatory abuse in the early part of 2019.
A statement from the PFA explained: “The boycott acts as a show of unity by the players, and a call for stronger action to be taken by social networks and footballing authorities in response to racist abuse both on and off the pitch.
“Players recognise that these racist incidents are a reflection of societal issues. They know first-hand how damaging racism can be and are using their platforms to inspire change that will benefit players, football and society as a whole.”
PFA members and players were encouraged to share a graphic on their social media channels ahead of the boycott.
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling said that “the time has come” for social media giants to take greater responsibility for the abusive content that appears on their websites.
“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,” said Smalling.
“I understand that I am in an extremely privileged position and I am deeply thankful for that but, at the end of the day, we are all human.
“As a patron of a youth education charity it is my duty to use my platform as a voice for all, regardless of background. We have to take a greater stand against discrimination of all kinds.”
The #Enough social media boycott is scheduled to run for 24 hours from 9am BST (4am ET) on April 19 to 9am BST (4am ET) on April 20 .
The PFA has said that the boycott is just the beginning of a longer campaign designed to tackle racism head on.
“The PFA will continue to work closely with The FA and government to ensure more is done to tackle racist abuse, while also seeking to put pressure on both FIFA and UEFA through FIFPro,” explained a statement.
“The campaign seeks to shine a light on the need for social media platforms to take responsibility to address racism received by professional footballers and other users online.”
A host of footballers, clubs and former players have pledged their support for the boycott. It has received backing from a number of anti-discrimination groups and also the game’s world governing body, FIFA.
Politicians in the United Kingdom have also shown their support, as have a number of media and entertainment outlets.