Sunday 08 October 2023, 20:30

Gianni Infantino meets FIA President and discusses the fight against online abuse

  • FIFA President attended the Qatar Formula One Grand Prix

  • Gianni Infantino discussed ways of tackling online abuse with FIA counterpart Mohammed Ben Sulayem

  • FIFA last year launched a Social Media Protection Service jointly with FIFPRO

Gianni Infantino has attended the Formula One Qatar Grand Prix where he held talks with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) President Mohammed Ben Sulayem about the fight against online abuse. The two presidents previously met at the Monaco Grand Prix in May, where they also discussed the issue.

"It was great to be back in Qatar for the Formula One Grand Prix. This beautiful country brings back wonderful memories from the FIFA World Cup in 2022 which brought the world together in celebration," the FIFA President said. "I also met with FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and continued our conversation about how we can work together to combat online abuse in sport."

Last year, FIFA and FIFPRO -- the worldwide organisation representing players – jointly established the Social Media Protection Service (SMPS) to defend teams and players from online abuse at FIFA tournaments. The service was implemented at both the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ as well as the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2022™ and the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023™.

The SMPS proactively monitors the social media accounts of every participating team and player, as well as several coaches and officials, looking for abusive, discriminatory and threatening language. In addition, every participant is offered access to a moderation tool which instantly and automatically hides abusive and offensive comments from their profiles, so that the comments are never seen by the player or team they were aimed at, nor the many millions of social media users who follow them.

Meanwhile, FIA has launched the United Against Online Abuse campaign – a collaborative mission between national governments, regulatory institutions and fellow sporting bodies – with the objective of building a global coalition within the sport ecosystem.

The race took place at the Lusail International Circuit, a few kilometres from the Lusail Stadium which hosted matches at last year's FIFA World Cup including the Final between Argentina and France.