FIFA study finds over half of players in Euro 2020, AFCON finals abused online

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Over 55 per cent of the players who played in Euro 2020 and AFCON finals were abused online before, during and after the game, according to the studies of a report released by FIFA & FIFPRO on Saturday; homophobic slurs were most common form of detected abuse, with racism second

More than half the players who played in the most recent Euro 2020 and AFCON finals were abused online before, during and after the game, according to the studies of a shocking report released by FIFA and FIFPRO.

England players Marcus Rashford (right) and Bukayo Saka in action at last summer’s Euros

Homophobic abuse was the most common, with racism second, and though world football’s governing body are not naming names, Sky Sports News understands the most abused players in the Euro 2020 final were Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, who both missed from the spot as England lost to Italy on penalties at Wembley last July.

In both tournaments, most of the abuse originated from the home nation of the players being targeted – 38 per cent from the UK and 19 per cent from Egypt after they were also beaten on penalties by Senegal in February’s AFCON final.

In response, FIFA and FIFPRO, the worldwide representative organisation for professional footballers, say they will launch a dedicated in-tournament moderation service across men’s and women’s football during this winter’s World Cup “that will scan recognised hate speech terms published to identified social media accounts, and once detected, prevent that comment from being seen by the recipient and their followers.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “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.

“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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