England Netball and the Netball Players Association (NPA) stands with football and the wider sporting community in taking part in a social media boycott from 15:00 on Friday 30 April to 23:59 on Monday 3 May.
The social media boycott is in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory online abuse targeted at professional athletes and others in sport, which will not be tolerated nor accepted in any part of our game.
We expect our platforms and those of the Netball Family to be free from hate, abuse, racism or any kind of harassment. We want our channels to be a space for people to come together and celebrate the sport we love.
We know that social media companies can help stop this and we implore them to do so.
As part of this, we will be continuously reviewing our social media and code of conduct policies and:
- Remove any abusive and hateful comments posted on England Netball, Vitality Netball Superleague and Netball Players Association platforms and block users who post them from our channels
- Report online abuse to the relevant social media platforms
- Report the most serious cases to the police and take action through our Disciplinary Regulations where applicable
- Remind members of our policies covering online abuse
- Ask every member of the Netball Family, from our elite players to our grassroots communities, to report online abuse through the relevant route and help us make a change together
Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, commented: “Social media can be a great tool to connect with our Netball Family, reach new audiences and tell our stories, but social media can also sadly be used to spread abuse of players and others involved in our sport. We have heard from elite players and people involved at all levels of our sport who have experienced abuse on social media and it has no place in our game or society. We stand with football and the wider sporting community and believe social media companies can and should do more to prevent this.
“Online abuse in netball will not be tolerated, and it is vital that we play our part in keeping our channels a positive space, free from hate and abuse. We are proud to be involved in this social media boycott and as part of our social media and code of conduct policies urge those involved in our sport to stand against online abuse and harassment to protect everyone in our game and make a change together.”
Liz Bloor, Director of the Netball Players Association said: “The rising profile of netball’s elite athletes has been welcomed but regrettably this has brought with it incidents of abusive, derogatory and racist online comments aimed at some of our members. In supporting this boycott of the social media platforms, we hope that the companies concerned will follow through on their stated position that this is not acceptable and take robust action against the perpetrators. Sport should be a positive and inspiring environment for the athletes, officials and fans alike.”
As part of this weekend’s coverage of the VNSL, our broadcast partner Sky Sports will broadcast all 10 matches of Round 13 & 14 on linear channels (across Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena), as well as live streaming all games on the Sky Sports app and skysports.com/netball.
The full fixtures are as follows:
Friday 30th April:
17.15: Surrey Storm v Celtic Dragons (Sky Sports Mix)
19.15: Saracens Mavericks v Loughborough Lightning (Sky Sports Mix)
Saturday 1st May:
14.00: Surrey Storm v Severn Stars (Sky Sports Mix)
16.00: London Pulse v Strathclyde Sirens (Sky Sports Mix)
18.30: Saracens Mavericks v Celtic Dragons (Sky Sports Mix) *please note the time change
Sunday 2nd May:
14.00: Strathclyde Sirens v Leeds Rhinos (Sky Sports Arena)
16.00: London Pulse v Manchester Thunder (Sky Sports Arena)
18.00: Team Bath Netball v Wasps Netball (Sky Sports Arena)
Monday 3rd May:
17.15: Manchester Thunder v Team Bath Netball (Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena)
19.15: Leeds Rhinos v Wasps Netball (Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena)