Romelu Lukaku calls on social media bosses to meet players to tackle online abuse

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has called for more to be done to tackle racism in football beyond taking the knee.

Although he stopped short of saying he would stop taking the knee before matches like teammate Marcos Alonso, Lukaku did join the Spaniard in questioning the effectiveness of the symbolic gesture.

The 28-year-old focussed on urging social media company bosses to sit down with prominent players and the game’s governing bodies to find a way to finally put an end to the incessant abuse that footballers are bombarded with online.

Lukaku believes racism and other forms of discrimination are rife in the sport at present and wants to take a personal stand having suffered racial abuse during his time in Italy with Inter.

Speaking in an interview with CNN, he said: “I have to fight. 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.

“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.

“How we can attack it straight away, not only from the men’s game, but also from the women’s game.

“I think just all of us together and just have a big meeting and have a conference and just talk about stuff that needs to be addressed to protect the players, but also to protect fans and younger players that want to become professional footballers.”

The Belgium international continued: “If you want to stop something, you can really do it. We as players, we can say: ‘Yeah, we can boycott social media,’ but I think it’s those companies that have to come and talk to the teams, or to the governments, or to the players themselves and find a way how to stop it because I really think they can.”

Asked about his feelings on taking the knee, Lukaku added: “I think we can take stronger positions, basically.

“Yeah, we are taking the knee, but in the end, everybody’s clapping but … sometimes after the game, you see another insult.”

Marcos AlonsoMarcos Alonso

Marcos Alonso has stopped taking the knee / Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

That echoes the sentiment of his teammate Alonso, who has stopped taking the knee because he feels the gesture is “losing a bit of strength” – although he declined to discuss the decision with his teammates or manager first.

A spokesperson for the FA told CNN it had contacted Chelsea to arrange a meeting with Lukaku, as has the PFA.

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