Jordan Henderson, Tyrone Mings and Karen Carney are amongst a group of current and former football players to have discussed ways of tackling the rise of online abuse and discrimination within the game.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) secretary of state Oliver Dowden and sports minister Nigel Huddleston, discussed the issues of online abuse over a virtual conference with some high-profile names from both men's and women's football.
The talks involved the players opening up with regards to the abuse they have received or that of their fellow team mates, as well as expressing a greater need for diversity amongst the game's leadership positions.
Carney has recently been the victim of abuse on social media platform Twitter, following comments she made about the clubs promotion to the Premier League. The torrent of abuse received led to the pundit deleting her account.
Ministers have announced plans for the Online Harms Bill, a new set of laws that aimed at tackling online hate and abuse by holding social media platforms to account. The Bill is set to come before parliament this year, that will give technology companies to treat online abuse the same way that discrimination is treated in the street.
"I was pleased that the Secretary of State wanted to engage with, and listen to, the thoughts of us as players and ex-players. Hopefully, this adds context when he attempts to deliver change on behalf of us," said Aston Villa and England defender, Tyrone Mings.
DCMS Secretary of State Oliver Dowden added: "To hear players talk about the level of abuse they have faced was humbling. Their input today has strengthened my resolve to bring in new laws to ensure there is much greater accountability from the social media platforms for dealing with such problems."
In October, the FA devised the Football Leadership Diversity Code, stating that clubs must meet a 15 per cent diversity target when hiring for executive roles and 25 per cent in coaching roles, to aid in tackling the lack of equality within English football.
Dowden said: "As we shape the "Future of Football" and look towards our football governance review, we must tackle issues around discrimination and lack of equality of opportunity head-on. I am grateful to this group of players for sharing their experiences and expertise to help the Government's work."
Author: Jake Wilkin