FIA publishes shocking results over social media abuse


A new industry-wide report published by the FIA has detailed how 90% of sporting federations fear that online social media abuse could force sports stars to quit.

United Against Online Abuse was set up by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem to study the impact of online abuse against sport stars and their families, with other major sporting federations such as FIFA, World Athletics and the UCI (cycling) all taking part, as well as the FIA itself.

In the report, 75% of respondents reported that competitors were subject regularly faced with threats against themselves or their families, with 90% of the respondents suggesting that unless social media companies do more to tackle the increasing trend, stars will quit their sport.

High-profile cases that sparked the report include England footballers Eni Aluko and Chelsea forward Lauren James as well as Wayne Barnes – the referee for the 2023 Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and South Africa, won by the latter.

A case of abuse against a female Spanish FIA steward at the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix was also a “main trigger” for the sanctioning of the report.

“Online abuse is a persistent issue within the sporting world. A number of international federations have voiced their concerns via our barometer survey and in regular discussions we have held since the campaign launch in 2022,” explained President Ben Sulayem.

“The survey findings highlight the importance of united anti-abuse efforts across sporting ecosystems and beyond. As part of the UAOA campaign, the aim of our coalition is to rid our sport of the scourge of online abuse.

“Together we seek to bring about behavioural and regulatory change to create a safer, more harmonious environment free of abuse, hate speech and harassment.

“We already have the support of a number of sporting bodies and governments and are in discussions with other stakeholders to grow our support base.”




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