NYON: European federation UEFA  is adding its voice – or temporary lack of it – to English football’s weekend social media boycott.

UEFA will stay silent across its platforms this weekend, starting at 15:00 BST (16:00 CEST) on Friday. The aim of the online boycott is to show solidarity in the fight against online abuse and it will run until 23:59 BST on Monday.

The Italian and Portuguese federation are also following suit.

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin offered unequivocal backing to the initiative, saying that action needs to be taken to stop the spread of hate and abuse online directed at footballers and those involved with the game.

He said: “There have been abuses both on the pitch and on social media. This is unacceptable and needs to be stopped, with the help of the public and legislative authorities and the social media giants.

“Allowing a culture of hatred to grow with impunity is dangerous, very dangerous, not only for football, but for society as a whole.

“This is why we are supporting this initiative. It is time for football to take a stand and I have been impressed with the solidarity shown by the players, clubs and stakeholders.

“I urge everyone – players, clubs and national associations – to lodge formal complaints whenever players, coaches, referees or officials are victims of unacceptable tweets or messages. We’ve had enough of these cowards who hide behind their anonymity to spew out their noxious ideologies.”