Phil Blanche, PA
Swansea are to take a stand against online abuse and discrimination by not posting any social media content for seven days.
Three Swansea players – Yan Dhanda, Ben Cabango and Jamal Lowe – have been racially abused on social media recently and the Sky Bet Championship club has declared “enough is enough” in the fight against discrimination.
Liverpool trio Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane became the latest in a long list of players to be targeted on social media after Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg loss to Real Madrid.
The Premier League champions called for “the strongest possible preventative measures” to be taken over the matter and Swansea have written to Twitter and Facebook urging the introduction of tougher policing and punishments for those found guilty of sending online abuse.
Swansea said in a statement: “From 5pm today all first-team players, those in the academy professional phase (under-23s and under-18s), Swansea City Ladies, Community Trust, senior club staff and official club channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok) will not post any content for a period of seven days.
“As a football club, we have seen several of our players subjected to abhorrent abuse in the past seven weeks alone, and we feel it is right to take a stand against behaviour that is a blight on our sport, and society at large.
“We will always be unwavering in our support of our players, staff, supporters and the community that we proudly represent, and we are united as a club on this issue.
“We also want to stand with players from other clubs who have had to endure vile discrimination on social media platforms.
“As a club we are also acutely aware of how social media can impact on the mental health of players and staff, and we hope our strong stance will highlight the wider effects of abuse.
“Additionally, chief executive Julian Winter has sent a letter to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Facebook’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg to reiterate the club’s stance and desire to see social media companies introduce more stringent policing and punishments for those guilty of the appalling and cowardly abuse that has sadly become far too common.”
Swansea have over one million followers on Twitter and a social media reach of three and a half million on their social media platforms.
The social media boycott will cover Swansea’s Sky Bet Championship games against Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday, although club news will continue to be posted on the official website during this period.
Swansea, who say the EFL support their decision, added: “Enough is enough.
“Something has to change soon and, as always, we welcome any support from fellow clubs, players, fans and executives as we all continue to work together in this important fight.”
Swansea captain Matt Grimes said: “As a close and diverse group of players, this is something we all feel extremely passionate about.
“Three of our squad have been racially abused in recent weeks and, as a squad and club, we wanted to take this stance as we again call on those at the forefront of social media companies to implement the change that is needed now and in the future.
“I find it staggering that we are still talking about racism and abuse of this kind. We are acutely aware of the pressures within football at this level, but it shouldn’t be underestimated as to how such levels of abuse can affect someone.
“Social media has provided so many positives over the last decade, however the sickening and vile abuse that we are seeing on a daily and weekly basis is wholly unacceptable, and we hope that this stance across the club will be supported by everyone.”