FIFA Threat Matrix Report

Types of Abuse

The study revealed 514 abusive posts targeting players. The EURO 2020 Final accounted for 365 abusive posts, whilst the AFCON Final accounted for 149. Whilst each tournament exhibited different primary abuse categories, racism and homophobia were the two most prevalent forms of abuse present across the tournaments representing a combined 78% of all detected abuse on Twitter and Instagram.

FIFA Threat Matrix report  - Type of abuse infographic

EURO 2020

Over 78% of the abuse targeting players around the EURO 2020 Final contained racist abuse. 23% of this was also combined with homophobic abuse. The vast majority of this abuse was directed at black England players, particularly the trio of England players involved in the decisive penalty shootout: Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jordon Sancho. Racist abuse was also targeted at Italian players. This was primarily directed by fans attacking Italy’s victory and included the English slur for Italians ‘wop’. The study required nuance and knowledge in order to account for peculiarities such as Italian player Giorgio Chiellini whose nickname is “gorilla”. This amplified the use of Gorilla emojis, which in another context would have been considered as racial abuse.

AFCON 2022

The AFCON Final attracted lower rates of specifically racist abuse (26%). This is likely explained by the make up of the primary audience. However, players experienced much higher levels of homophobic abuse (62%), again playing into cultural stereotypes aligned with the primary audience for the tournament. Islamophobic abuse was also more prevalent than in the EURO 2020 Final, again this is attributable to a higher presence of Muslim players involved in the squads making religion an issue with which to abuse players. There was also violent and discriminatory abuse targeted at players from fans of their domestic clubs overseas.

Full Report

Last updated: Thursday, 1 September 2022 at 09:23