LONDON, January 25th (Reuters). England’s top football players, including Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and former international Karen Carney, discussed online abuse and discrimination with government ministers on Monday.
The online round table with Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden and Minister of Sport Nigel Huddleston was part of a series of discussions on the future of football.
The government is planning a fan-led review of football governance and new laws to hold social media companies accountable for online damage. The bill is due before parliament this year.
“It was humbling to hear the players talk about the extent of the abuse,” Dowden said in a statement.
“Your post today has strengthened my determination to put new legislation in place to ensure that social media platforms have a much greater accountability for addressing such issues.”
Carney deleted her Twitter account this month after her remarks about Leeds United while working as a television expert were ridiculed by the Premier League club’s official account and led to a stream of online abuse.
Chelsea forward Bethany England said at the time that Carney was “exposed to cyber bullying” and “mass online abuse for doing her job and having her opinion”.
Other participants in the round table included Watford captain Troy Deeney, former West Ham United player Anton Ferdinand and Tyrone Mings from Aston Villa.
England defender Mings was racially abused during a 2019 European Championship qualifier in Bulgaria when the team’s black players were exposed to monkey chants from the crowd.
Henderson, who also played in this game, has spoken out strongly against racism and discrimination.
Ferdinand’s experiences and in particular a 2011 series of races with former English captain John Terry were recently featured in a BBC documentary “Football, Racism and Me”.
“The meeting was very important and I am delighted that those with the power and authority to make change see the gravity of the abuse against players,” said Henderson. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Ken Ferris)