Home Sports FIFA investigation: More than half of footballers have experienced online abuse

FIFA investigation: More than half of footballers have experienced online abuse

BBC

Posted on: Sunday 19 June 2022 – 08:01 | Last update: Sunday 19 June 2022 – 8:01 am

According to a study published by the International Football Association (FIFA), more than half of football players participating in the European Championship and African Cup of Nations have experienced online abuse.
The investigation, commissioned by the governing body of world football, found that more than half of all players in the finals of two major international tournaments experienced social media abuse.
The independent report, published in conjunction with the United Nations’ International Day Against Hate Speech, states that “homophobic (40%) and racist (38%) comments made up the majority of violations.”
Using artificial intelligence to track more than 400,000 social media posts during the Euro 2020 and Africa Cup of Nations 2021 semi-finals and finals, it was found that “more than 50% of players experienced some form of discriminatory abuse.”
FIFA said that with the World Cup in Qatar only five months away, they will work with the players’ union to implement a plan to protect players from social media abuse.

This includes checking recognized terms of hate speech posted on select social media accounts and, once discovered, preventing that comment from being visible to the recipient and their followers.
“While the offensive message will remain visible to the person who originally made the comment, its visibility and reach will be significantly reduced,” FIFA said.
Among the players, Marcus Rashford Obukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were targeted online after missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final, sparking widespread calls for a crackdown on racist abuse on social media.
A teenager was sentenced to six weeks in prison for racially insulting Rashford on Twitter after the loss to Italy.
“It is our duty to protect football, and it starts with the players who bring us all so much joy and happiness through their performance on the playing field,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“Unfortunately, there is a trend that is developing where some of the posts on social media channels targeting players, coaches, match officials and the teams themselves are unacceptable, and this kind of discrimination – like any form of discrimination – has no place in American football.”

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