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Prince William joins social media sports boycott to tackle abuse

LONDON: Britain’s Prince William has joined a boycott of social media channels launched on Friday by football clubs, players and sporting bodies aimed at tackling online abuse. A number of football organisations including the English Football Association and Premier League revealed they would not post on their platforms this weekend and the campaign has snowballed.

European football’s governing body UEFA is also observing the blackout, which will last from 1400 GMT on Friday until 2259 GMT on Monday. In a statement released before the boycott began, the Premier League said social media companies must do more to stamp out online abuse.

A number of high-profile players including Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and Chelsea full-back Reece James have been racially abused in recent months.

“The Premier League and our clubs stand alongside football in staging this boycott to highlight the urgent need for social media companies to do more in eliminating racial hatred,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters. Prince William, who is president of the English Football Association, threw his weight behind the campaign. “As President of the FA I join the entire football community in the social media boycott this weekend,” he tweeted.

In January William hit out at racist abuse in football, describing it as “despicable” and saying it must stop after several black players were targeted online.

A number of players posted statements shortly before the protest began on Friday, while football clubs changed their Twitter logos to show their support for the campaign.

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