In an exclusive interview with CNN Sport, Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has urged the CEOs of social media companies to sit down with leading Premier League stars to try and put an end to the abuse that footballers receive online.
Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have implemented several new measures in recent months, such as being able to limit who can respond to posts, but star players in both the men’s and women’s game still regularly find themselves subjected to racist, sexist and homophobic abuse, as well as death threats.
This issue is personal for Lukaku, who has been targeted by racist fans in the past, and the Belgian international explains why he wants to be more directly involved.
“I have to fight,” he told CNN’s Amanda Davies. “Because I’m not fighting only for myself. I’m fighting for my son, for my future kids, for my brother, for all of the other players and their kids, you know, for everybody.”
Lukaku believes it’s now time for all parties – footballers, social media companies and governing bodies – to come together and take on the responsibility of ending the abuse.
“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, and we should just sit around the table and have a big meeting about it,” Lukaku says.
“How we can attack it straight away, not only from the men’s game, but also from the women’s game.