A FIFA study has revealed that more than half the players in Euro 2020 and AFCON finals were abused online before, after, and during the game according to a shocking report by FIFPRO. The most common abuse was Homophobic abuse with racism not far behind. Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford were the two most abused players during the Euro 2020 final after they missed penalties in the shootout.
“Our duty is to protect the football, and that starts with the players who bring so much joy and happiness to all of us by their exploits on the field of play,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said about the abuse at the Euro 2020 finals. “Unfortunately, there is a trend developing where a percentage of posts on social media channels directed towards players, coaches, match officials, and the teams themselves is not acceptable, and this form of discrimination – like any form of discrimination – has no place in football. With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 on the horizon, FIFA and FIFPRO recognize it is important to make a stand and to include what is monitored on social media with what is already being monitored in the stadiums. We want our actions to speak louder than our words and that is why we are taking concrete measures to tackle the problem directly.”
“Racism often picks its moment and is unleashed after a trigger. This means that a tournament or match with relatively low abuse levels can become a flashpoint at any moment,” the report suggested. “Online abuse is a societal issue and as an industry, we cannot accept that this new form of abuse and discrimination affects so many people including our players.”