Romelu Lukaku calls for players' summit with social media companies to tackle racism

Romelu Lukaku was resigned by Chelsea to Inter Milan for 97.5m.
Romelu Lukaku believes that footballers can do much more than simply taking the knee to address racism and calls on social media companies for players to meet them to combat online abuse.

According to the Chelsea striker, this gesture is not sufficient as players continue to be subjected to abuse.

CNN's Lukaku stated that he believes we can take stronger positions. External-link

"We are taking to the knee, everyone's clapping but sometimes after the match you see another insult."

The 28-year old added that "we should just sit around and have a large meeting about it – how we can immediately attack it, not only from men's but also from women's games."

Premier League players have protested against racism and discrimination by kneeling before games since June 2020, when the competition resumed following a three month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Marcos Alonso, Lukaku's teammate, said earlier this week that he wouldn't make the gesture anymore because he felt it was losing its effectiveness and would instead point to the no to racism’ badge on his shirt.

Last season, Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace forward, adopted a similar position.

A four-day social media boycott was held by football players, athletes, and other sporting organizations in April to encourage companies to stand firm against the abuse of racist and sexist users.

Lukaku believes that the problem can be solved if everyone works together.

He said, "If you really want to stop something you can do it."

"We, the players, can say, 'Yeah. We can boycott social media.' But I believe it's those companies who have to talk to the teams or the governments or the players and find a way to stop it.

"The captains and four to five players from each team should meet with the CEOs of Instagram, governments, the FA, and the PFA.

"Football, joy and happiness are one thing that makes it a great sport. It shouldn't make you feel unsafe due to the opinions of some uninformed people."

According to the Football Association, it approached Chelsea to establish a dialogue with Lukaku.

An FA spokesperson stated that "We always welcome conversations about this important topic with players across the game, so we have reached out directly to Chelsea to arrange a conversation with Romelu if he wishes to."

Lukaku was also contacted by the PFA via Chelsea captain Cesar Zapilicueta regarding a possible meeting. The PFA continues to talk to players and social media companies to discuss the matter.

It also conducted research for social media companies on the prevalence of online abuse. This was discussed earlier in the month at the Home Affairs Committee inquiry into online damage.

Under new anti-discrimination laws, Premier League fans could be banned from all Premier League stadiums for life if they are found guilty of any abuse.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, last month announced features to limit abusive messages during "sudden surges".

These measures were taken in response to racist abuse received online from Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, after their penalty misses at the Euro 2020 final.

Twitter claims that automated tools launched in February by Twitter have allowed it to identify and immediately remove approximately 13,000 tweets until August. 95% of these tweets were identified proactively.

The Professional Footballers' Association called Twitter to abandon its "easy" approach to tackling abuse directed at players online. They cited new research showing a 48% increase in racist abuses sent to players via Twitter during the second half last season.