Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has urged social media CEOs to hold discussions with football players and clubs to help combat online abuse.
Research funded by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) in August found that footballers in the Premier League, Women’s Super League (WSL) and English Football League (EFL) were subjected to a 48% increase in unmoderated racist online abuse during the second half of the 2020-21 season.
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England players Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka were also targeted with racist abuse on Twitter and Instagram after missing penalties during the shootout defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
Speaking to CNN Sport about Chelsea’s “No To Hate” campaign, Lukaku said: “I have to fight. Because I’m not fighting only for myself. I’m fighting for my son, for my future kids, for my brother, for all of the other players and their kids, you know, for everybody.
“The captains of every team, and four or five players, like the big personalities of every team, should have a meeting with the CEOs of Instagram and governments and the FA and the PFA, and we should just sit around the table and have a big meeting about it.
“How we can attack it straight away, not only from the men’s game, but also from the women’s game.
“I think just all of us together and just have a big meeting and have a conference and just talk about stuff that needs to be addressed to protect the players, but also to protect fans and younger players that want to become professional footballers.”
Lukaku also backed club teammate Marcos Alonso’s stance on taking a knee after the defender said the gesture was “losing its strength.”
Alonso said he will instead point to the “No Room For Racism” badge on the sleeve of his kit and Lukaku also questioned the impact of taking a knee before games.
“I think we can take stronger positions, basically,” he added. “Yeah, we are taking the knee, but in the end, everybody’s clapping but … sometimes after the game, you see another insult.”