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Women's Euros: England among most abused teams on social media during group stage, according to UEFA report

UEFA launched a monitoring platform to tackle online abuse during Women's Euros this summer; governing body says 290 abusive posts were reported to social media companies, with 55 per cent being removed; England joined by Spain, France and Italy as most-targeted sides

Left to right, England's Rachel Daly, Beth Mead, Lauren Hemp, Ellen White and Fran Kirby line up before the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 Group A match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022.
Image: From left: England's Rachel Daly, Beth Mead, Lauren Hemp, Ellen White and Fran Kirby

UEFA says it has reported 290 abusive posts to social media companies during the group stage of the Women's Euros, with England, Spain, France and Italy the teams most targeted.

UEFA launched a new monitoring portal at the beginning of the tournament with the aim of monitoring, reporting and remedying cases of abuse on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

A total of 618 posts from 528 individual accounts were flagged for review during the group stage, which ran from July 6-18, with 47 per cent of the messages being reported to the relevant social media companies.

Of those, 55 per cent have been removed by the platforms, with the average removal time following the post being reported taking 63 minutes.

Nineteen per cent of the flagged posts were directed at individual players, 20 per cent were targeted at team accounts, 17 per cent were directed at coaches and 39 per cent were directed at competition and competition-related accounts.

The monitoring of the social media platforms showed that 70 per cent of flagged posts were for generalised abuse, which includes abuse that is not specifically targeted at a group or community.

In addition, 20 per cent featured sexism, 6 per cent featured racism and 4 per cent featured homophobia.

Spain hit back in the first half after Finland had taken an early lead
Image: Spain take on England for a place in the semi-finals on Wednesday night

UEFA said it will use the data it has collected to "work with national associations and social media companies to better fight against abuse during the remainder of the tournament and beyond".

It added: "UEFA is liaising closely with major social media platforms such as Twitter, Meta [Instagram and Facebook] and TikTok on these matters.

"In addition, it engages proactively with participating teams, briefing them ahead of the tournament and following each match, and engages in frequent dialogue with social platforms on available steps to protect players, referees and officials from online abuse."

Michele Uva, UEFA's director of football and social responsibility, said: "Our main goal is always to protect our game. It is great to see the project in action and I am pleased that we can already see the concrete impact this is having based on the numbers from the group stage.

"Posts are being identified and removed and we hope that this gives players, coaches and referees the possibility to be protected by UEFA.

"Our next steps are to work proactively to prevent, report and facilitate removal of abusive posts and comments, and we recognise our responsibility and role in this. We will continue to share insights in the last part of our fantastic EURO and in future UEFA events."

In June, a report published by FIFA and FIFPRO revealed more than half the players who played in the most recent men's Euro 2020 and AFCON finals were abused online before, during and after the game.

Ahead of the Women's Euros, England manager Sarina Wiegman revealed the Lionesses were working on plans to protect players from social media abuse.

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