Lukaku wants social media companies to meet players to help tackle racism

, Lukaku wants social media companies to meet players to help tackle racism, The Evepost BBC News
, Lukaku wants social media companies to meet players to help tackle racism, The Evepost BBC News
Chelsea re-signed Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for £97.5m in August

Romelu Lukaku says footballers can do more to tackle racism than just taking the knee and wants social media companies to meet with players to help combat the issue of online abuse.

The Chelsea striker says the gesture alone is not enough as players are continuing to receive abuse.

“I think we can take stronger positions,” Lukaku told CNN.external-link

“We are taking the knee, everybody’s clapping, but sometimes after the game you see another insult.”

The 28-year-old added: “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.”

Premier League players have taken the knee before every game since the restart in the summer of 2020 in a protest against racism and discrimination.

Lukaku’s team-mate Marcos Alonso revealed earlier this week he would no longer make the gesture as he felt it was losing its impact and will instead point to the ‘no to racism’ badge on his shirt.

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha adopted a similar stance last season.

In April, football clubs, players, athletes and a number of sporting bodies held a four-day social media boycott in the hope of encouraging companies to take a stronger stance against racist and sexist abuse by users.

Lukaku believes the issue can be successfully tackled if everybody works together.

, Lukaku wants social media companies to meet players to help tackle racism, The Evepost BBC News

“If you want to stop something, you can really do it,” he added.

“We as players, we can say: ‘Yeah, we can boycott social media,’ but I think it’s those companies that have to come and talk to the teams, or to the governments, or to the players themselves and find a way how to stop it because I really think they can.

“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.

“Football is joy, it’s happiness and it shouldn’t be a place where you feel unsafe because of the opinion from some uneducated people.”

Fans found guilty of abuse could face lifetime bans from all Premier League stadiums under new anti-discrimination measures implemented from the start of the 2021-22 season.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, announced last month that it had introduced features designed to restrict abusive messages during “sudden spikes”.

The measures were introduced in response to the racist abuse received online by Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho after their penalty misses in the Euro 2020 final.

Twitter says automated tools introduced in February have helped the platform immediately identify and remove about 13,000 tweets up to August – of which 95% were identified proactively.

However, the Professional Footballers’ Association has called on Twitter to stop taking the “easy” option to tackle abuse aimed at players online, citing new research that showed a 48% rise in racist abuse sent to players on the social media platform during the second half of last season.