FIFA’s plan to curb racism and violence against players

Five months before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, FIFA and the world players union (FIFPro) announced the implementation of a plan to protect teams, players, officials and supporters against racism and violence on social media and in stadiums.

In addition, they will trainings to improve social media practices and provide mental health advice to footballers to participate in FIFA tournaments during 2022 and 2023.

According to a report published by FIFA this Saturday, June 18, in the framework of the United Nations International Day to Counter Hate Speech, there is a growing degree of abuse against soccer players on social media during international tournaments.

Using artificial intelligence, more than 400,000 posts were tracked during the semi-finals and finals of UEFA Euro 2020 and Africa Cup of Nations 2021, among which it was identified that more than 50% of the players received some type of discrimination, and much of that abuse came from the footballers’ home nation. Specifically, homophobic (40%) and racist (38%) comments provided the majority of abuse.

This is why FIFA and FIFPRO will launch a tournament moderation service dedicated to men’s and women’s football that will scan for recognized hate speech terms posted to identified social media accounts and, once detected, will prevent the recipient and their followers from seeing that comment. Although the offending message will remain visible to the person who originally wrote it, its visibility and reach will be significantly reduced.

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