Real Scars: UEFA takes action to tackle online abuse

11 July 2022

Real Scars: UEFA takes action to tackle online abuse

Wendie Renard, Jorginho and Alisha Lehmann join UEFA’s Respect campaign, which was kicked off at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

Real Scars will highlight the devastating effects of online abuse directed at football players, coaches and officials across social media platforms and educate them on how best to defend themselves against such discrimination. The programme’s other pillars include a new platform to actively monitor, report and remedy cases of online abuse, in addition to the launch of an “Outraged” documentary series.

UEFA’s Respect programme targets concrete actions to prevent abusive online behaviour and discrimination during all of its final competitions, including youth, women’s and men’s final matches for the next three years. To ensure that harmful content is removed, UEFA is working directly with major social media platforms such as Twitter, Meta [Instagram and Facebook] and TikTok.

The hard-hitting campaign video features Chelsea FC and Italy midfielder Jorginho, Olympique Lyonnais and France star Wendie Renard and Aston Villa FC and Switzerland player Alisha Lehmann, all of whom have suffered or witnessed abuse online. The video will be shown online and on giant screens at all UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 matches. The campaign will also be featured on perimeter boards and in match programmes during the tournament.

“UEFA wants to tackle online abuse by inspiring, activating and accelerating concrete action across European football. We are excited to kick off a dedicated programme at the UEFA Women’s EURO, aiming to create awareness, provide education, and monitor and report online abuse across all future UEFA competition finals.” (…)”We cannot accept any form of abuse and discrimination in football. It is time for concrete actions to stop online abuse. This is a long-term programme through which we will leverage a new moderation technology across all key platforms. Shortly, we will also launch an Outraged documentary series, which will be focused on increasing attention on education to create awareness on the importance of this topic and to prevent abuse from happening.”

Michele Uva, UEFA’s Director of Football and Social Responsibility:

Further players and officials, including Crystal Palace FC manager Patrick Vieira, former footballer and sports journalist Karen Carney, and Jesús Tomillero Benavente, the Spanish referee who retired due to online abuse, feature in a short documentary on online abuse as part of UEFA’s five-part Outraged series, which deals with discrimination and abuse. The documentary will be launched mid-tournament and will be made available online on and via UEFA broadcasters.

In September 2021, EFDN organised -together with SCORT and ITU- a Round table discussion on ‘Child Online Protection in European Football Clubs’. During the webinar, several panelists shared their expertise and insights on this important topic.

As a result of a survey among EFDN Members regarding Child Online Protection, this event was created for football clubs to help them face the challenges regarding the protection of children online. With the growing use of digital tools and online interactions, there has never been a more important moment to address these questions and talk about COP.


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