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FIFA Reports 20% of Women’s World Cup Players Experience Online Abuse

ZURICH, Switzerland — According to a report published on Monday, players at the Women’s World Cup were 29% more likely to receive online abuse than those at the men’s tournament in 2022. The report is based on data from FIFA’s Social Media Protection Service (SMPS), which found that one in five players (152) at the Women’s World Cup received “targeted discriminatory, abusive, or threatening messaging.”

FIFPRO president David Aganzo stated, “Football has a responsibility to protect the players around their workspace.” The report also revealed that almost 50% of the “detected and verified” abusive messages were homophobic, sexual, and sexist. The SMPS uses artificial intelligence to prevent abuse on participants’ social media feeds. FIFA president Gianni Infantino emphasized, “Discrimination has no place in football and no place in society.”

During the Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand in July and August, 5.1 million posts and comments in 35 different languages were analyzed. More than 400,000 comments were reported and hidden. The report highlighted that the toxic online environment is a risky place for players and affects their mental health and well-being. The SMPS, which was launched last year, has been used in eight FIFA tournaments. It aims to help shield players, teams, and officials from online abuse and hate speech.