Romelu Lukaku calls for tech executives to hold players’ welfare summit

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has called for professional footballers to meet CEOs of top social media firms in a move that has echoed the call by his counterpart Wayne Rooney for a summit on player welfare.

Lukaku joined Vodafone as part of their #4AmpleCrew campaign on Wednesday, and revealed a link up with one of football’s biggest names that had played a significant role in his development. “I’m proud to be part of the Vodafone movement and am really looking forward to talking to executives of the top social media platforms to identify opportunities for players to share their experiences and start conversations with us about the role we can play in making football safer,” he said.

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Rooney, who announced on Tuesday that he would donate £250,000 of his fees for his testimonial match against Everton to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, asked Premier League clubs in March for a summit on player welfare at a time when the footballers’ union, Fifpro, had blamed social media for promoting “self-harm and self-harm among players”.

Lukaku, the 20-year-old Belgian who has netted seven goals in his opening five matches, said: “When you are a teenager you want to have fun and to express yourself. It’s no problem as long as you are using the right channels to do that and people can see that.

“I think a lot of social media now actually turns into envy. Nowadays a lot of boys don’t want to be a footballer – that’s the way people are drawn to it. I’m glad I can sit down with people who can help me show people how to control the right channels.

“If people are having an online relationship with people they care about they have the correct emotional model of how to deal with people. We still need to talk about it but some of the chat is right in front of you. That’s why you need a moderator.

“When you are young, it’s easy to create a fake profile. But if you have the right skills, proper algorithms and if you have someone around you who is filtering the things you do with people, who knows the right channels to share your story and the wrong channels, you can live in an ideal way.”

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The Vodafone campaign is also being launched to promote the phone company’s the @fouramplecrew, which calls for footballers to join fans in sharing their stories using Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook Live.

The #4AmpleCrew page on Instagram includes extracts from the profiles of young players from Malaysia, Portugal, Egypt, Germany, Nigeria, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Honduras, Indonesia, Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, New Zealand, the US, the Netherlands, Australia, Bosnia, Lebanon, Sweden, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, England, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Russia, Turkey, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Japan, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Croatia, Cyprus, Iceland, South Africa, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Uruguay, Israel, Germany, England, Ukraine, Sweden, Cameroon, Scotland, Colombia, Iceland, Portugal, Serbia, Argentina, Norway, Italy, Malta, Malta, The Netherlands, Scotland, New Zealand, France, England, Uruguay, Cameroon, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovakia, Georgia, Macedonia, Estonia, Albania, Serbia, Georgia, Latvia, Sweden, Denmark, Denmark, Denmark, Italy, Iceland, Romania, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Cyprus, Lithuania, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Malta, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Romania, Ireland, Holland, Ukraine, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Serbia, Macedonia, Latvia, Latvia, Macedonia, Macedonia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and Austria.

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