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Premier League clubs to boycott social media over racist abuse Updated: 2021-04-19 15:50:47 KST

Time now for 'This Week in Sports' and joining us in the studio is our sports editor Paul Neat.
Paul, racism on social media has been a problem for a number of years now but recent events are prompting English Premier League clubs to take action. There has been talk of a boycott. What's the latest?

According to reports in the UK from over the weekend, teams are planning to go silent for 24 hours on social media.
This is said to be the first weekend of May… what is being called the “Weekend of Action."
According to the Daily Mail, clubs have been asked to confirm their support by 2 PM local time on Monday.
Swansea City became the first club to have a self-imposed ban… it lasted seven days.
In Scotland, Rangers did likewise and Birmingham City in England too.
Last weekend, Korean international footballer Son Heung-min was subjected to racist abuse on social media.
His club, Tottenham Hotspur, released a statement immediately after the game to say that they “stand with Son” after the “abhorrent racial abuse” and they will "determine the most effective action moving forward.”

What sort of methods to stop online hate have been discussed?

There are a couple of ways being discussed… one involves artificial intelligence.
Social media companies are being urged to use their AI expertise to spot racist messages even as they are being written.
A Labour MP in the UK, Margaret Hodge said recently that having IDs connected to people’s accounts would be one method and should be part of the Online Harms Bill.

Well, speaking of the Premier League, I understand that the so-called "Big Six" have announced their intention to join a new -- and controversial -- European Super League?

Yes, that's right. Six Premier League clubs have signed a declaration of intent to join a new 20-team Super League.
It would not replace the domestic leagues rather run along side it with midweek European matches.
The proposal also says it will have 15 permanent teams who cannot be relegated.
But, it has been condemned by UEFA, the Premier League, even UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
UEFA says it will use "all measures" to stop the "cynical project."
Teams who enter are at risk of being banned from their domestic leagues.
And players risk being banned from competing in FIFA competitions.
Son Heung-min for example, because he plays for Tottenham - one of the "Big Six" - could be banned from playing for Korea in the World Cup.

Moving onto the Olympics, it has been suggested that there could be no fans at all. What can you tell us about that?

Yes, that is what has been suggested by Japan’s minister in charge of vaccines - Taro Kono.
With just one-percent of the country vaccinated, Kono said Thursday that it is likely that the Olympics will have to be held in empty venues, particularly as cases surge across the country.
Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto did not push back on Taro Kono’s comments in a separate press conference on Friday.
Hashimoto had said previously that a decision on venues would come some time in April.

And finally, ahead of the European Championships, one if its venues Wembley Stadium held a test event over the weekend with fans?

Yes, that's right. The FA Cup semi-finals took place over the weekend with 8-thousand spectators in attendance.
To enter the Leicester versus Southampton match on Sunday, fans had to take a lateral flow test no more than 24 hours beforehand and had to show proof of their negative result.
Ticket holders also had to take PCR tests… before and after the match to help the research program work out whether there has been any impact on infections.

Thank-you for that Paul. We shall see you next week.

Thank you.
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