England Rugby announces decision to participate in social media blackout

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American football

The sport’s authorities started boycott plans last Saturday night, in response to a rising wave of online hatred targeting players, managers and experts.

Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship clubs will shut down their accounts. The central accounts of the governing bodies – such as those of the Premier League, the Football Association, the WSL, the EFL, the Professional Football Association, the League Managers Association and the Football Supporters’ Association, are also involved, as are anti-discrimination bodies Kick It Out and Show Racism The Red Card.

Scottish football clubs and governing bodies have now also pledged to support the boycott.

Cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Wednesday that it, the 18 first-class counties, the eight regional women’s teams and the Professional Cricketers’ Association are joining the boycott.

Rugby Union

The Rugby Football Union is in solidarity with the football and cricket authorities, and the bills for England Rugby, the Allianz Premier 15s, the Championship and GB7s will suspend all activities, it was confirmed on Thursday. Clubs in the Gallagher Premiership announced they were boycotting social media the day before, with the support of the Rugby Players’ Association.

Tennis

The Lawn Tennis Association announced on Monday its intention to rally behind football in support of the boycott.

Sponsors

Sportswear giant Adidas – which produces over a third of its Premier League kits – is stopping all ads on its platforms. Barclays, which sponsors the WSL, will support the blackout, with no social media posts on the Barclays Football pages of Facebook and Instagram, nor on the Barclays Footy Twitter account, while the company’s other social channels cover all football related activities will avoid.

England football team sponsor Budweiser has signed up, while online car dealer Cazoo – which sponsors Everton and Aston Villa – became the first major sponsor to announce Tuesday that it would support the boycott.

Broadcasters

BT Sport says the only messages on its channels during the blackout period will relate to social media abuse, while talkSPORT also supports the boycott. Sky Sports, a major Kick It Out supporter, is also said to be behind the campaign.

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