Friday, September 13, 2019

Footballers should consider pursuing legal action in order to combat discriminatory abuse on social media, according to 102-cap England footballer Eni Aluko.

Dozens of footballers have already been subjected to racist abuse this season, with the most high-profile online cases including Chelsea pair Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma, and Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba.

Social media companies are not doing enough to tackle racism directed at people through their platforms, according to Juventus forward Aluko, who suggests the Professional Footballers' Association should act to protect players from abuse.

"It is time to take action over online abuse," Aluko, who is also a sports lawyer, wrote in her weekly column in The Guardian.

"Black footballers occasionally retweet examples of the racism directed at them on social media, but Twitter and Facebook aren't doing enough to stop it. If anything Twitter actually needs it: fury and controversy are what draws people to the site.

"But we can find out who these people are. All it takes is a court order to release their names, and they're in trouble. There are laws in place to stop this stuff, and people who don't understand the moral argument against racism have to understand that there will be legal consequences.

"Perhaps the most effective solution would be for black, female and BAME-background athletes to take collective action. If the Professional Footballers' Association is committed to protecting players' interests, they should also be looking at this issue.

"Perhaps they could assemble a legal team specifically to take on the likes of Twitter and force them to identify the individuals who racially abuse their members so they can be pursued by police or the courts.

"Footballers need to step up and make sure that even if the FA or Twitter aren't going to do anything, we are."


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