Following recent online abuse, Championship side Swansea City have decided to take club-wide stance by boycotting all forms of social media for one week.
This boycott will include players in the first team, academy sides, women’s team as well as the club’s official accounts, who will stop posting from 5pm on April 8.
The Swans have become the first club to take this stance against racial abuse on social media. Indeed, over the past two months the Welsh sides players’: Jamal Lowe, Ben Cabango and Yan Dhanda have all been targets of discrimination online.
The club made this historic announcement via the official twitter account this week and Swansea City captain Matt Grimes said:
“As a close and diverse group of players this is something that we are extremely passionate about.
“Social media has provided so many positives over the last decade, however, the sickening and vile abuse that we are seeing on a daily and weekly basis is wholly unacceptable, and we hope that this stance across the club will be supported by everyone.
“We are a family, and we will always stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, whether that’s on the pitch or helping to fight injustice off it.”
The club’s chief executive Julian Winter, meanwhile, has sent letters to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Facebook’s founder, chairman and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to ask for “more stringent policing and punishments for those guilty of the appalling and cowardly abuse”.
This club-wide stance will cover the Swans forthcoming matches against Millwall on April 10 and their trip to Sheffield Wednesday on April 13. During this period the club news will be posted via the official website before a return to social media activity at 5pm on April 15.
Following this announcement, should more clubs follow Swansea City’s example to get Social Media platforms to do more to prevent online abuse? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below….
Football bodies across England have released an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The letter is in response to the increased levels of abuse received by players on the social media platforms in recent weeks.
Swansea City midfielder Yan Dhanda being the latest victim after Swansea’s FA Cup game against Manchester City. Dhanda posted on twitter “How can this still be happening in 2021?“.
Dhanda’s club Swansea City released a statement saying:
“Swansea City is appalled and saddened by racist abuse received by Yan Dhanda via social media following tonight’s Emirates FA Cup game against Manchester City.
“As a club, we pride ourselves on working with the community and our supporters, as well as the EFL and the FA, on all anti-racism and anti-discriminatory campaigns because it has no place in society.
“Swansea City condemns racism and abuse of all kinds, and we urge social media companies to go above and beyond to stamp out this abhorrent level of behaviour that continues to tarnish football and society.
“An official report has been made with South Wales Police and the club will assist them in their investigation.
“Yan has our unwavering support in this matter as we and the relevant authorities strive to eradicate this mindless behaviour.”
This come after Manchester United players, Axel Tuanzebe, Antony Martial, Lauren James and Marcus Rashford had experienced abuse on social media. Premier League Referee Mike Dean’s family were sent death threats.
The platform recently announced that user’s who send abusive message will face having their accounts permanently removed. Facebook’s (who own the platform) content policy manager, Fadzai Madzingira who said:
“Currently, we will set a specific ban or what we call a block for a set amount of time when someone violates those rules and we extend that time should they continue to do so,
“We’re taking tougher measures on people who violate those rules in Instagram direct messaging, so instead of just extending the time, we’ll be removing the accounts altogether.”
The letter has called for more to be done and has been sent by, The FA, The Premier League, The EFL, The FA WSL, The FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and Kick it Out.
The letter has called on the companies to do the following,
Messages and posts should be filtered and blocked before being sent or posted if they contain racist or discriminatory material.
You should operate robust, transparent, and swift measures to take down abusive material if it does get into circulation.
All users should be subject to an improved verification process that (only if required by law enforcement) allows for accurate identification of the person behind the account. Steps should also be taken to stop a user that has sent abuse previously from re-registering an account.
Your platforms should actively and expeditiously assist the investigating authorities in identifying the originators of illegal discriminatory material.
The letter also welcomes:
“The comments made on Twitter by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, that the UK Government is going to change the law to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms”.
“We call for meetings with your organisations to discuss the evidence of abuse on your platforms, the action you are taking, and how you plan to directly address the matters outlined in this letter.”
At the time of writing neither Facebook or Twitter have responded to the open letter.
As derby games go there are not many bigger, historic or outright bizarre than the South Wales derby between Cardiff and Swansea. A friendly rivalry for many years at first turned into one of the most heated matches in football.
As welsh clubs playing in the English football league the early derby matches were played with fans mixing and some friendly banter. As the years went on on football hooliganism escalated so did the hatred between the two sets of fans.
A Brief History
Trouble at football games in the UK had been on the rise throughout the 70’s and 80’s and Cardiff and Swansea games were no different. Many football fans will be familiar with Swansea’s Swim Away gesture to Cardiff fans. This all stems from an incident at a match in Swansea in 1988.
As this was pre smart phones and viral videos accounts of the incident vary wildly but after a 2-0 Cardiff win around 30 Cardiff supporters were chased into the water. Police moved the Swansea fans away and dripping wet Cardiff supporters emerged from the waters. The swim away gesture has been used by many ex Swansea players whilst playing against Cardiff.
This season’s first meeting will take place at the Cardiff City Stadium, but without any supporters. It will be the first without any fans at the ground, but for many years away supporters were banned from this fixture.
After years of rising trouble at the derby fixture the FAW finally had enough in 1993, banning away supporters for four years. It came to a head after a match at Ninian Park in 1993, the game has been dubbed the “Battle of Ninian Park”. Swansea fans came to Ninian Park and ripped out seats and threw them at Cardiff supporters. Cardiff supporters responded by invading the pitch to attack the Swansea fans. Former Football Intelligence officer Simon Chivers described it as “the worst violence I’ve ever seen.” There were many arrests and several police officers and supporters were injured in one of the darkest days for Welsh football. For the first time in the UK away supporters were banned from attending until 1997.
Thankfully scenes like this are no longer the norm at Cardiff/Swansea games. When fans were allowed to attend away games all fixtures between the sides have been “bubble” games.
Across the years no side has ever won two league meetings in a season. The clubs have won two games in a season, but due to playing in the Welsh Cup, the league double has never been done.
Cardiff have turned their form around winning four straight games. They have scored ten and conceded just one in that run. They have climbed up to 9th place and are just four points from the play-off places.
Swansea, meanwhile, have won three, drawn two and lost one of their last six games. They are in 4th place and only a point behind 2nd placed Bournemouth.
Last season saw a goalless draw at Cardiff while Swansea won 1-0 in their home game. Prior to last season the last derby games came in the Premier League.
Swansea enjoyed a 3-0 win at the Liberty Stadium in Garry Monk’s first game as manager. It was the Bluebirds who won the first ever Premier League game 1-0 with former Swansea player Steven Caulker scoring the only goal.
Cardiff have the edge overall with 44 wins to Swansea’s 36, with 28 draws.
Harry Wilson is a major doubt for the game with an arm injury picked up during City’s win at Stoke on Tuesday. Osei-Tutu and Tomlin are both still unavailable. With Wilson likely to miss this game Junior Hoilett will be the most likely to step in in.
Morgan Gibbs-White is still out for Swansea but Steve Copper will have no new injury concerns.
“It’s a huge game. Bragging rights are at stake. It’s a massive game. I was watching some footage earlier of the game back in January. The stadium was packed, atmosphere was electric. Both clubs will miss the fans. It’s a great fixture in the football calendar, one of the biggest games of the season in the Championship.
“Fans will be missed but it doesn’t take away the importance of it.“
“We know the importance to the fan base.“
Harris was asked if he understood the importance of this game for the Cardiff fans,
“Course I do. It’s never lost on me.“
“In my playing career, they are the best games to play in.
“I know the importance to the fan base and that will certainly be mentioned in the changing room. It already has been.
“It’s not a joy for people in lockdown in the lead up to Christmas and they can’t watch their team. There’s been a hardship and we have an opportunity to put smiles on faces.“
“It will be different in terms of the game and atmosphere,
“They were electric atmospheres last season, as anyone who was there will tell you, so we can’t shy away from it, it is different.
“That’s why you cannot compare with previous seasons or previous games.
“But is a game that means an awful lot to supporters, it’s one we really want to win and one we want to really commit to and attack.
“It is for the supporters. I want them to see a team working hard and giving their best because football is so important to so many people.
“It will be a perfect chance to give a bit back and we will be committing to that.”
While Kieffer Moore is gaining plaudits for his recent form part of this has been down to the introduction of Mark Harris. Harris has been a revelation since his introduction to the starting line which has seen Cardiff win the last four. Harris has scored one himself but gives defenders more to think about allowing more space for Moore. The Swansea born striker could be the key to unlocking Swansea’s defence.
Andre Ayew has picked up seven goals this season for Swansea. Swansea have only lost one game this season when Ayew has scored. The striker is a big game player and will relish this fixture.
Prediction; Cardiff ? v ? Swansea
This derby is unpredictable at the best of times. Playing behind closed doors will change the dynamic like never before in this fixture. Its likely to be a close game with just a goal in it.
Reading missed the chance to extend their lead at the top to six points after a second straight defeat. Second placed Swansea drew with Brentford meaning Reading still have a three point lead. Bristol City and Cardiff bonce back from weekend losses with wins. Wycombe make it two wins in two and Prestons impressive away form continues as they make it four wins from five.
Swansea traveled to Brentford, the side that beat them in last seasons play-offs.
The Swans started brightly with Kyle Naughton and Andre Ayew testing the Bees Keeper David Raya. Brentford, however, took the lead in the 32nd minute as Ivan Toney turned in Mathias Jensens cross from close range. Swansea leveled through Ayew, who turned in Matt Grimes’ cross inside the six yard box. Swansea sit second after an impressive start whilst last years play-off finalists sit in tenth.
Swansea boss Steve Cooper thought his side deserved to win the game telling the BBC:
“We thought that we were comfortable in the game and Freddie (Woodman) didn’t have a save to make all game. Their keeper made two world class saves in the early stages.
“You wish after a performance like that coming here that it would have been three points instead of one”.
Thomas Frank told BBC Radio London:
“We didn’t play particularly well in the second half, but neither did Swansea. There was a lot of back and forth, but with their goal, we need to defend better”.
Bristol City, meanwhile, are back to winning ways after five games without one, coming from behind at Huddersfield Town. Josh Koroma gave the home side the lead two minutes from the break.
City turned the game around in the second half with goals from Jay Dasilva and Jamie Paterson. Huddersfield sit 15th in the table whilst Bristol City sit outside the play-off places on goal difference. This was a good time for Bristol to regain some form as they head to south Wales on Friday for the Severnside Derby.
Their host’s on Friday also got a win on Tuesday as Cardiff responded to Neil Harris’ criticism of them after Saturday loss to QPR. Neil Harris switched to a 4-4-2 starting with Kieffer Moore and Robert Glatzel. Junior Hoilett gave the Bluebirds the lead after four minutes skillfully bringing down Joe Bennett’s cross. Joe Ralls added a second just before the break from the spot after Harry Wilson was brought down. Wilson added a third on 77 minutes with a stunning left footed strike from outside the box. Cardiff move to 13th and Barnsley are 18th.
Sheffield Wednesday ended Bournemouth’s unbeaten start with a 1-0 victory at Hillsborough. The goal came from the spot after Josh Windass skipped around Begovic but was brought down by Steve Cook. Cook also saw a red card for the challenge. Barry Bannan calmly put the spot kick home. Wednesday held on to win despite Kadeem Harris being sent off for a rash tackle in stoppage time.
Norwich City were unable to break Millwall’s defence at Carrow Road as Millwall get a vital away point.
Przemysław Płacheta saw his effort just before half time smash the upright. Emiliano Buendia saw his effort saved by Millwall keeper Bialkowski. Norwich boss Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Norfolk:
“We created an unbelievable amount of chances with lots of possession close to the opponent’s box. We had 27 chances today. Can’t complain too much, the only thing we can criticise is our responsibility to finish”.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough made it nine unbeaten as they drew at Blackburn 0-0.
Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“Let’s hope there are not many games like that the rest of the season. It wasn’t nice to watch, I didn’t enjoy it. Lets take the point put it in the bank and move on”.
Neil Warnock told BBC Tees:
“The only regret was not getting three points but that’s the Championship, if you don’t win you’ve got to make sure you come away with a point”.
Another away win for Preston as they beat leaders Reading by three goals. Despite a missed penalty from Daniel Johnson two goals in four minutes from Scott Sinclair and Emil Riis followed by a Brad Potts goal in stoppage time gave Preston their fourth away win.
A high ball into the box was clearly chested down by Sinclair and slotted into the goal despite Reading appeals for offside. A quick counter saw Preston double their lead Emil Riis reaching a long ball and sliding his shot under the advancing keeper. Another quick break from Preston saw Tom Barkhuizen get behind Readings defence. His squared ball into the box was met by Potts who put the ball into the top corner.
Reading head coach Veljko Paunovic said after the game:
“I’m not disappointed but I feel the pain. When you lose a game, you have to absorb it. That’s what I’ve told the players.
“You have to bounce back and convert the pain into a positive energy for the next game”.
Preston boss Alex Neil said:
“This seems to be quite common for us on the road. We’ve been excellent on the road”.
A five goal thriller at Vicarage Road as Watford beat Stoke City. Stoke took the lead after 2 minutes, Steven Fletcher finishing a training ground corner.
Watford equalised after 28 minutes Tom Cleverley finishing off a lovely piece of passing play from Watford. Cleverley’s shot came off the bar and the ground to be collected by the keeper, after a brief wait the ref gave the goal after receiving a signal form the Goal Decision System.
Joao Pedro’s gave the lead to Watford after Sarr was brought down by Stoke Keeper Angus Gunn. Nick Powell leveled for Stoke with a right footed strike from the edge of the box on 81 minutes. But Watford weren’t done as Sarr found the net three minutes into added time.
Wycombe made it three unbeaten with a 2-1 win at St Andrews. Despite going behind to a Marc Roberts goal just before the break. A late second half fight back with Scott Kashket leveling the game on 75 minutes and an own goal in injury time from Kristian Pedersen. Wycombe after severn points in three games are not just a point of Coventry and getting out of the relegation zone.
Coventry lost out on a point to a 96 minute Lyle Taylor penalty as they lost to Forest 2-1. Scott Mckenna had given Forest the lead before Callum O’Hare squared things up. This was Forests first win in five and they sit 20th in the table. Derby lost again at Pride Park as QPR scored a late winner for the second game running. After a 91 minute winner on Saturday, Macauley Bonne’s late header gave QPR another three points. Luton picked up a good win away at Rotherham 1-0 with a goal from James Collins.
Another busy weekend of Championship action as Friday sees the Serevenside Derby between Cardiff City and Bristol City. Leaders Reading host Stoke in Saturdays early kick off, whilst Norwich v Swansea should be a cracker of a game.
Indeed, the window for signing stars overseas such as Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho may have closed this week, but the domestic transfer window will remain open until October 16. In other words this allows a further 11 days for domestic clubs to strengthen their squads.
The Premier League confirmed this in a statement which says:
“During this window, clubs will only be able to trade with EFL Clubs (either loans or permanent registrations)
“No transfers can take place between Premier League sides in this period.”
Certainly Premier League clubs such as Burnley, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United could do with some more additions, however, this begs the question, who maybe on the move to the Premier League before the second transfer window deadline:
The Algerian 24-year old set the Championship a light at times last season, scoring 17 times and providing nine assists. Benrahma joined the Bees from Nice in the summer of 2018 for just £2.8 million and has subsequently been capped by his country.
In addition, Benrahma was nominated for the Championship Player of the Year award, and plays primarily on the left flank. He proved a timely reminder of his talents in the Carabao Cup victory over Fulham by scoring two of Brentford three goals in their impressive 3-0 win.
Ismaila Sarr (Watford)
The Senegalese international winger is a reported target for the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool. Sarr’s speed, his direct running and ability to play on either flank certainly would make a valuable asset, particularly to the likes of United who missed out on adding Jadon Sancho to their ranks.
According to 2019/20 stats, Sarr completed 52 successful dribbles compared to the Red Devil’s Welsh winger Daniel James’s 28, however, the former Rennes player could cost in the region of £45 million pounds.
An added complication, however, would be that Sarr would not be able to play in European competitions due to the registration of squads being on October 6th, but he would be able to play in domestic competitions.
Todd Cantwell (Norwich City)
The Canarias’s highly rated 22-year old is a reported target for Leeds United, however, due to the Yorkshire club’s signing of Michael Cuisance on loan from Bayern Munich the likes of Burnley or West Ham United could potentially move in for Cantwell.
Cantwell has been left out of the two most recent match day squads due to speculation, he certainly impressed in the Premier League for his boyhood club last season, scoring six League goals, which was more than a fifth of Norwich’s entire goal tally.
Joe Rodon (Swansea City)
The 22-year old centre back has attracted interest from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.
Indeed, Spurs have already in talks to sign Rodon for a reported £18 million pounds.
The likes of Danny Higginbotham and former Manchester City defender, Andy Hinchcliffe have already compared his game to former England internationals Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.
“What I love about him as an individual is that he’s his own worst critic. He is willing to take responsibility.
“After the Preston game in February, where he’d made his first start for three months, it looked as though he hadn’t even been away and he was the best player on the pitch.”