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UEFA tackles online abuse during 2023/24 club competition finals


UEFA’s dedicated online abuse platform successfully flagged 663 social media posts regarding the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Conference League and Women’s Champions League finals for removal.

The 2023/24 UEFA Champions League final was the target for 83% of abusive posts.
The 2023/24 UEFA Champions League final was the target for 83% of abusive posts. UEFA via Getty Images

As part of our efforts to combat online abuse, we succeeded in removing and restricting 87% of reported posts (578 posts) during this season’s four club competition finals.

Following the launch of a dedicated platform to monitor and report online abuse during UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 as part of a multi-season investment, we used the platform once again to monitor the 2023/24 Champions League, Europa League, Conference League and Women’s Champions League finals.

A total of 663 posts across social media were flagged for review by the platform. As already observed during the past season, players were the primary targets, accounting for 89% of the abuse, followed by coaches (2%), teams (6%), referees (1%), UEFA (1%) and women’s football (1%).

The identified posts were classified as racism (65%), hate speech (32%), homophobia (2%) and sexism (1%).

The platform’s launch in 2022 marked the first instance of a sports governing body actively monitoring online abuse and collaborating with social media platforms to remove offensive posts. This initiative will continue to oversee all finals up to and including UEFA Women’s EURO 2025.

UEFA Champions League final

In total, 83% of the 663 posts across social media platforms flagged for review were about the Champions League final. Of these, 358 have been removed.

Real Madrid was the most targeted team with 86% of posts compared with Borussia Dortmund’s 14%.

UEFA Europa League final

The Europa League final was the target of 14% of the flagged posts, with 88% of them focusing on Bayer Leverkusen. Of these, 45 posts have been removed.

UEFA Conference League final

Just 1% of flagged posts were about the Conference League final. The most targeted team was Fiorentina with 72% of posts.

UEFA Women’s Champions League final

The Women’s Champions League final was the subject of 2% of flagged posts. Olympique Lyonnais was the most targeted team with 51% of posts.

What is UEFA doing to tackle online abuse?

UEFA’s commitment to tackling online abuse is a cornerstone of its Football Sustainability Strategy 2030 in view of fighting discrimination on and off the pitch.

The work in this specific domain is deployed across the following three pillars:

  1. Engagement and prevention: engaging with the teams to educate them about preventive measures that can be taken to limit the amount of abusive content on their profiles.
  2. Monitoring and reporting: Using a combination of automated scanning and human review, our dedicated platform actively monitors and reports critical posts to social media.
  3. Action and remedy: sharing match findings with the teams and local authorities to enable the remedy process.

Furthermore, we keep raising awareness around this topic through the Outraged documentary series and Real Scars campaign. The documentary is available on UEFA.tv and distributed to UEFA broadcasters. This series discusses discrimination and abuse in football, raising awareness and fostering discussions on these critical issues. The campaign highlights the devastating effects of online abuse directed at football players, coaches and officials, and provides education on how to defend against such abuse.

We will continue our monitoring and reporting work to combat and limit online abuse at this summer’s much-awaited UEFA EURO 2024 tournament in Germany.

We strongly encourage everyone to join the fight against online abuse by reporting any abusive or discriminatory content to the respective social media platforms. Victims of online abuse or hate speech who are struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts should seek support from medical professionals. If online threats or comments cause fear for personal safety, contacting the police is advised.

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