Football clubs, players, athletes and a number of sporting bodies have begun a four-day boycott of social media in an attempt to tackle abuse and discrimination on their platforms.

It began at Friday and will end on Monday.

The “show of solidarity against online abuse” hopes to encourage companies to take a stronger stance against racist and sexist abuse by users.

Rugby union, cricket and rugby league have also joined the protest.

The Premier League released a statement prior to the four-day silence, saying it would not stop challenging companies “until discriminatory online abuse is removed from our game and wider society”.

“We know that a boycott alone will not eradicate this, which is why we will continue to take proactive steps to call for change,” the statement continued.

A number players posted a statement shortly before the protest began, while football clubs changed their Twitter feed icons to a blacked-out version of their logo.

Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips wrote: “Disappointed that we even have to be doing this. Social media should be a safe space for everyone.

“I really hope main platforms make it a priority to eradicate online abuse from their system. It’s already a problem in society, let’s do more to stop it online as well.”

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out says the boycott “signifies our collective anger”, with football being joined by other sports.

Who is taking part?

Among the organisations boycotting Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are:

  • Football: Clubs from the Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League, Scottish Professional Football League and Scottish women’s football; governing bodies including the Football Association, Scottish FA, Football Association of Wales and Irish Football Association; European governing body Uefa; a number of other football organisations
  • Cricket: The England and Wales Cricket Board, first-class counties, women’s regional teams and the Professional Cricketers’ Association
  • Netball: The Superleague, England Netball, Netball Players Association
  • Rugby union: England Rugby, Scottish Rugby, Welsh Rugby, France Rugby, Premiership Rugby, clubs and the Rugby Players’ Association
  • Rugby league: The Rugby Football League, Super League Europe, Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the Rugby League Players’ Association
  • Corporate bodies: Premier League and Women’s Super League sponsor Barclays, England sponsor Nationwide, Adidas; broadcasters Sky Sports, BT Sport and Talksport