A-Leagues and PFA partnership with GoBubble Community aims to silence social media hate

A-Leagues and Professional Footballers Australia have announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with GoBubble Community, a discrete automated solution that hides hateful comments on social media channels.

In what is believed to be a world first, the social media channels of an entire sporting league (all A-Leagues clubs and players) will be shielded from abusive, derogatory, harmful or offensive language, thanks to the roll out of GoBubble Community’s technology.

Launched late last year, GoBubble Community uses machine-learning based software that monitors social media accounts in order to identify and deal with abusive, derogatory, harmful or offensive content.

With hate speech increasing across platforms, this partnership effectively puts safeguards in place to protect the wellbeing of A-Leagues footballers, as well as the community of managers who run the official club social media channels.

A-Leagues CEO Danny Townsend:

“Football has a unique power to connect people from all walks of life, and we want the A-Leagues to be the most welcoming and safe place at every level – in our online communities and in real life.

“There is no place for online abuse in our game, and this move is part of our duty of care to players and our fans. GoBubble Community’s technology shields anyone who follows player, club and league accounts from seeing harmful abuse and keeps our communities safe.”

PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill:

“Social media is a powerful tool that allows players to connect and positively engage with fans, promote their careers and clubs, and share their development as people on and off the pitch.

“But their presence on these platforms unfortunately exposes them to hate and abuse which has no place in our sport or society. This partnership with GoBubble Community continues our commitment to addressing the issue of online harm in partnership with the APL – and ensures we protect the wellbeing of our players and encourages positive experiences online.”

GoBubble Founder Henry Platten:

“GoBubble Community is proud to be working in partnership with A-Leagues and Professional Footballers Australia, as they make a powerful stand to eradicate online hate and discrimination through the use of our innovative software.

“The A League is taking the lead to roll out use of this technology across all clubs, and we now hope to see this approach replicated by sports governing bodies across the globe. This powerful step will protect teams, players and communities from online abuse, and promote a positive and supportive virtual experience across their social channels.”

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant:

“These days we often find the cheapest seats in the house are behind a keyboard, with players being subjected to terrible online abuse in the course of doing their jobs. Back in November last year we met with some of the biggest sporting codes in the country and pledged to work together to do more to protect players, coaches and support staff from online abuse.

“I think it’s great to see the A-Leagues and PFA making good on this pledge and taking a proactive approach to protecting their athletes. eSafety will continue pushing the major tech companies to embed Safety by Design into their platforms so that sporting organisations don’t need to take matters into their own hands to keep their players safe on these platforms.  And as always, eSafety is also here to help and all Australians can report serious online abuse to us at www.esafety.gov.au.”

This announcement follows a successful trial between February 25 and 26 by A-Leagues and PFA, using GoBubble Community’s software on the Twitter profiles of Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners – the clubs participating in the Pride Cup Double Header.

Melbourne Victory join with iconic shoe brand ASICS

Melbourne Victory has announced that ASICS Australia will be the Club’s Official Footwear Partner for the 2023/24 A-Leagues season.

ASICS is at the forefront of the world performance sports market as the leading running shoe brand for enthusiasts and professional athletes alike. Whether at professional sporting events, the Olympics or an everyday run around a park, ASICS is the runner’s choice, providing comfort, support and a superior ride.

The deal is fitting for both organisations as Melbourne Victory are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, club in the A-league. While ASICS are also one of the largest footwear companies in Australia, two powerhouses in the country collaborate to create what should become a successful partnership.

The global sports brand will supply Melbourne Victory Club’s staff with footwear for the upcoming season.

Melbourne Victory Managing Director Caroline Carnegie is looking forward to having ASICS on board as a partner for the season.

“We’re thrilled to have ASICS on board with us at Melbourne Victory and we can’t wait to be able to showcase their range to our members and fans,” she stated via press release.

“ASICS is a global brand that produces some of the world’s best footwear and we believe our partnership will give our players and staff the cutting edge heading into the upcoming season.”

ASICS Oceania MD, Mark Brunton, said he was thrilled to collaborate with Melbourne Victory when they expanded into the worldwide football market with their innovative new football-specific line.

“We are proud of the high-quality range of performance footwear that ASICS has in the market and are excited to tie in a relationship with Melbourne Victory with the release of our new Swift Strike football boot,” he added via media release.

“We are looking forward to seeing Victory’s players performing at the highest level in our footwear.”

Melbourne Victory will next face local rivals Melbourne City on the February 17 in one of the biggest fixtures in the A-League season.

Central Coast Mariners academy even stronger with top-tier Portuguese side

Central Coast Mariners announced a partnership with Liga Portugal club Portimonense SAD.

The club, which now competes in the Portuguese first division, has a long history of generating top-tier players via both its academy and first-team programmes.

This collaboration is intended to mutually benefit young development for both teams, as well as general progress for Portimonense and the Mariners, making it a strategically smart move from Mariners who also have a history of producing young talent.

The contract would allow prospective Central Coast players to transfer into Portuguese first division football, one of Europe’s best divisions, while the Mariners will receive access to outstanding players from Portimonense SAD to enhance their team.

This has already begun with Mariners signing Ronald Barcellos on loan, with the goal of assisting both teams in their respective divisions while also allowing our players to continue their football growth.

Central Coast Mariners’ Sporting Director Matt Simon is eager to be working with Portimonense.

“To be able to work closely with a club of Portimonense’s pedigree is extremely exciting and an opportunity that we are greatly looking forward to,” he said via press release.

“We are clubs who see youth development as extremely important and to be able to work together on this will only benefit us both.”

Central Coast Mariners Chairman Richard Peil also commented on the partnership outlining the importance of the alliance.

“We’d love to own a network of clubs to be able to help players progress their careers and maximise their value, but that is just not realistic,” he stated via press release.

“This is the next best thing. The relationship with Portimonense is an important step in our progression to becoming a self-funding football club.”

Officials from Portimonense’s elite coaching squad are scheduled to visit the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence this month (February) to begin work on the relationship.

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