FIFA reports reveals half of Euro & AFCON finalists suffered online abuse

Marcus Rashford England Euro 2020Getty Images

A new FIFA report has revealed that more than half of the players who participated in the last European Championship and Africa Cup of Nations finals suffered from discriminatory online abuse.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were subjected to a torrent of abuse last summer after missing their penalties during England's defeat to Italy.

But the trio were far from alone, pointing to a real issue in the game over the use of social media to target footballers.

What did the report find?

The report, carried out by Threat Matrix on FIFA's prompting, studied hundreds of thousands of posts published during the semi-final and final stages of the two continental competitions.

It found that over 55 per cent of players who participated in the final received some form of discriminatory abuse, with most of that traffic coming from users in their home nation.

Homophobic messages were the most common, with racism following.

The abuse was greater against the three black England players who missed their penalties, though overall an Egypt substitute was singled out for the greatest volume of offensive messaging.

The report also found differences between social media platforms, with abuse on Twitter more constant across the finals while on Instagram proved more driven by events, for example in the immediate aftermath of England's defeat.

What did FIFA say about the report?

"Our duty is to protect 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 signalled in a statement on Saturday.

"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."

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