More than half of all players in the Euro and AFCON finals received some form of online abuse, with most of the abuse being homophobic, racist.
More than half of all players in the finals of last year’s European Championship and the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in February were subjected to discriminatory abuse online, according to a report published by the world football governing body FIFA.
The independent report used artificial intelligence to track more than 400,000 posts on social media platforms during the semi-finals and finals of the two football competitions and found that the majority of abuses were homophobic, 40 percent, and racist, 38 percent.
The report found that much of the abuse came from the players’ home nations and took place before, during and after matches.
England’s Marcus Rashford, Jaden Sancho and Bucaio Saka, who are black, have been bombarded with online abuse after missing their penalty shootout against Italy, which decided the European Championship final on July 11 after a draw.
The Egyptian substitute player was the most abused player in this year’s AFCON finals, the report said.
“It is our duty to defend football and it starts with the players who bring so much joy and happiness to all of us with their feats on the pitch,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, there is a trend where a percentage of social media posts targeting players, coaches, match officials and the teams themselves are not acceptable and this form of discrimination – like any form of discrimination – has no place in football. , “He said.
The report added that Twitter abuse was constant throughout the survey, while Instagram abuse was “caused” – like a loss of finale – and more than 75 percent of the platform’s comments included emojis.
Reuters contacted Twitter and Instagram for comment.
Ahead of the World Cup in Qatar in November, FIFA said it would work with the FIFPRO team to implement a plan to protect teams, players, officials and supporters of social media abuse during international tournaments.
The two bodies will launch moderation tools and offer educational support and mental health advice to players in FIFA tournaments.