New Respect programme focuses on awareness, education and collaborative actions to protect players, coaches and officials.
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At the start of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, UEFA launched a dedicated online abuse platform to monitor, report and remedy cases of online abuse. After releasing a first interim summary at the end of the group stage, UEFA can now reveal a summary of online abuse cases pertaining to the knockout stages and the final. In partnership with Visa, UEFA will scale up the monitoring efforts across all women competitions’ final matches for the next three years.
- A total of 447 posts across social media platforms have been flagged for review. Of these, 109 (24%) posts were eligible to be reported directly to the social media platforms for removal.
- Some 28% of flagged posts were directed at coaches, 25% targeted individual players, 24% were directed at competition and competition-related accounts, 21% targeted team accounts, 2% were directed at referees.
- Some 78% of flagged posts were for generalised abuse, which includes abuse that is not specifically targeted at a group or community, 17% for sexism, 2% for racism and 2% for homophobia (*).
- A total of 189 posts across social media platforms have been flagged for review. Of these, 119 (63%) posts were eligible to be reported directly to the social media platforms for removal.
- Some 58% of flagged posts were directed at team accounts, 19% were directed at competition and competition-related accounts, 12% targeted referees, 10% directed at individual players and 1% targeted coaches.
- The identified posts were classified as hate speech (51%), sexism (45%), homophobia (2%*) and racism (2%).
Since the beginning of the tournament, 60% of abusive posts have already been removed by social media platforms.
The initiative is historic as UEFA is the first sports governing body to actively monitor accounts as well as work with social media platforms (Twitter, Meta and TikTok) to have offensive posts removed. UEFA also engaged proactively with participating teams, briefing them ahead of the tournament including on means to protect their social media profiles. Following each match, UEFA shared all match-related findings, including all the necessary information to report online abuse to local authorities. Furthermore, to facilitate access to remedy, all the data has been shared with the English police, with seven investigations currently open.
The actions around online abuse will continue after the final whistle at Wembley. UEFA will build on the lessons of the past month to concentrate on all of its final competitions, including youth, women’s and men’s finals matches for the next three years. In this particular context, UEFA is pleased to count on the support of Visa for the coverage of all women competitions’ final matches.
Michele Uva, UEFA Director of Football and Social Responsibility
“The UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 kicked off our long-term programme to tackle online abuse, based on awareness, education and collaborative actions. We successfully launched the Real Scars campaign, the Outraged documentary and the Platform to monitor, report, and remedy cases of online abuse. I am particularly pleased about how we have worked together with our national associations, social media partners, local authorities and Visa. We are energised by this first milestone and will continue engaging all European football stakeholders for the years to come.”
Adrian Farina, Chief Marketing Officer, Visa, Europe
“The tournament has been a fantastic show of resilience, determination and excellence by some of the best footballing talent the world has to offer. By continuing to foster a safe, positive and empowering environment for football players and fans, on and offline, we can create a legacy for the women’s game.”
What else is UEFA doing tackle online abuse?
The above-mentioned platform is one of three key pillars in a new Respect programme focused on tackling abuse, and works through a combination of automated scanning and human review.
Furthermore, the new Real Scars campaign highlights the devastating effects of online abuse directed at football players, coaches and officials across social media platforms and educate them on how to best defend themselves against such abuse.
UEFA encourages everyone to join the fight against online abuse by reporting any abusive or discriminatory content to the social media platform on which it has been posted. Anyone that has fallen victim to online abuse or hate speech and is struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts is advised to consult a medical professional for support. If threats or comments bring a fear for personal safety and security, contact the police.
(*) The system UEFA uses has additional categories including LGBTQI+ hate and Disability hate; the categories mentioned are those recorded across this period of the tournament.