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21 Jun 2022

Hazar Kilani, Doha News (Qatar)

Qatar 2022: FIFA & FIFPRO introduce moderation programme to tackle online player abuse after reports of rising racial & religious discrimination in tournaments

fifg, Shutterstock (purchased)

"FIFA to tackle ‘unacceptable’ abuse of players at Qatar World Cup after shocking Euro 2020 incident", 19 Jun 2022

According to a study, more than half of the athletes who competed in the most recent Euro 2020 and AFCON finals experienced online abuse before, during, and after the match.

The move by football governing body FIFA, the United Nations International Day for Countering Hate Speech and international players’ union FIFPRO, comes after an independent report found rising numbers of discriminatory posts on social media that surround international games.

Meanwhile, FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated it is the organisation’s duty to protect the sport, starting with its players.

To tackle the abuse, the three partners are set to introduce a specialised in-tournament moderation programme for men’s and women’s football that will screen for phrases associated with hate speech and stop abusive messages from reaching targeted players and their supporters.

During tournaments, FIFA and FIFPRO will also offer players educational assistance and mental health counselling as part of the initiative.

“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 recognise 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,”
Gianni Infantino, FIFA President