Brentford FC will be joining in with a football-wide social media boycott next weekend. We have been appalled to see the continued abuse of players, particularly racist abuse, on social media platforms. The Club had discussed internally whether a withdrawal from all social media platforms would be appropriate and made representations to both the EFL and like-minded clubs for a coordinated boycott for a given period.

The boycott was announced by the football authorities last night. That release can be seen here. We can confirm we will be joining the boycott and will switch off all social media channels from 3pm on Friday, 30 April, until the end of Monday 3 May.

Brentford FC believes a wide-ranging withdrawal will send a powerful message and have an impact on behaviour on social media platforms. The Club will not post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or LinkedIn during the boycott. There will also be no video posted on our YouTube channel during this period. We also invite all Brentford FC personnel to not post on the platforms during this period.

Abuse on social media has been a scourge of the medium for many years. Players and staff have been the targets of sickening language directed at them in replies and comments. This has been arriving on the laptops and mobile phones of those managing and using social media. In recent months, the frequency of this abuse has increased and there has been an exponential rise in discriminatory language sent directly to players and other participants in our game. As has been pointed out by others – Enough is Enough.

As a club we have both a support network in place to provide players and staff with the care they need and an agreed protocol to investigate and deal with abuse alongside bodies such as the police, The PFA, The FA and Kick It Out. This is being delivered by staff across the club, led by our Head of Diversity and Inclusion alongside our Player Welfare Team and Psychologist. We have a social media policy in place for supporters and when fans have transgressed in recent times, stadium bans have been issued and more investigations are ongoing. We will continue to work in every way we can to combat discriminatory behaviour in football whilst educating fans to understand that they should know and be better.

Like many across the game and society, we call on the social media platforms to do more to protect all users, not just those in the professional sports arena. Social media can be a force for good, to entertain and inform, and at the current time it is an important way for clubs and players to connect with fans that cannot attend games. But more needs to be done to ensure they are not platforms used to vent hate and for the abuse of others.