UEFA intensifies fight against online racist abuse of players

UEFA is working with social media companies to launch a program to remove harmful content from the platform and raise awareness to combat racist abuse online.

Online abuse: UEFA will work with social media platforms (Reuters Photo)

highlighted

  • UEFA will work with social media platforms to tackle online abuse
  • The program will start in July 6–31 at the Women’s European Championship.
  • The program will include a “Real Scars” campaign involving football players.

UEFA will work with social media platforms to tackle online abuse as part of a respect campaign to be launched when women’s Euro 2022 begins.

Europe’s football governing body said the programme, which will start at the July 6-31 Women’s European Championship, will work to “proactively monitor, report and treat” cases of online abuse.

England’s Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the target of online racist abuse after missing a penalty in a 3-2 shootout loss to Italy in last year’s European Championship final.

A report published by FIFA last month revealed that more than half of players in last year’s European Championship and Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) were subjected to discriminatory abuse online.

“The Honors program targets concrete actions to prevent abusive online behavior and discrimination during all of its final competitions, including youth, women’s and men’s competition final matches for the next three years,” UEFA said in a statement.

“UEFA is working directly with major social media platforms such as Twitter, Meta (Instagram and Facebook) and TikTok to ensure that harmful content is removed.”

The event will include a “Real Scars” campaign featuring football players Wendy Renard, Jorginho and Alisha Lehmann.

It will “highlight the devastating effects of online abuse” and educate players, coaches and officials on how to defend themselves.

“When you say something on social media, you don’t realize how painful it is or the consequences it can have,” Renard said.

“It can leave an impression because we are all human beings, we all have feelings.”