A-Leagues and PFA strengthen commitment to stamping out social media abuse

A-Leagues. PFA and GoBubble

The A-Leagues and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) are continuing their collaboration with GoBubble Community to stop social media abuse towards Australia and New Zealand’s professional men’s and women’s footballers, through to at least 2027.

First established in April 2022, the use of GoBubble’s artificial intelligence is key to identifying and blocking abusive, derogatory, harmful or offensive content.

GoBubble has implemented an automated solution that picks up sentiment and is tailored to the needs of all organisations in real-time, for example if an ongoing issue presents itself.

The GoBubble partnership is one of the first in its kind when monitoring an entire sporting league. Since the A-League’s adoption, the English Premier League and German Bundesliga and other sports rights holders globally now use technology successfully.

Since April 2022, GoBubble’s technology has protected A-Leagues players and clubs’ social media accounts, with more than 13,000 abusive comments blocked.

The A-Leagues, PFA and GoBubble (through the new GoBubble Foundation launching in 2024) will be running community outreach projects to provide access to the cutting-edge technology for those who play the role in protecting young people in their digital lives.

A-Leagues Commissioner Nick Garcia reiterated that abuse in any form is not accepted:

”Our footballers and clubs provide great entertainment to their many fans across Australia and New Zealand, both on the field as well as through social media content.

“Just like we work to ensure our stadiums are safe for our players and fans, we are also, through GoBubble Community, focused on making social media a safe space for them.

“Online abuse is absolutely not acceptable in football or any walk of life, so we are thrilled to extend our vital partnership with GoBubble Community.”

PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch praised the efforts of GoBubble so far:

“Our collective ambition is to make the A-Leagues the safest competition in world football for players and fans, and that extends to ensuring everyone’s experience online is the best it can possibly be.

“GoBubble has proven to be the most effective way for our players to add a layer of protection online, so that they can continue to engage with fans and grow our football community.”

GoBubble Founder Henry Platten commended the A-Leagues and PFA approach to abuse:

“The A-Leagues’ innovative approach in providing our sentiment artificial intelligence (AI) for all member clubs has positively impacted the digital lives of millions.

“Football is the beautiful game, and by working in partnership with the A-Leagues and PFA, our patent-pending technology is helping everyone enjoy it without the risk of suffering hate or abuse online.

“We care about respectful communication at scale and are proud, together with the A-Leagues and PFA, to deliver another world first in 2024 by providing access to our AI through the GoBubble Foundation to education and charitable organisations working with schools in Australia.”

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant shared the importance of sustaining this technology:

“It’s great to see this successful partnership being extended to ensure players and fans alike can continue to enjoy the sport they love without being subjected to harmful content.

“Online abuse is an insidious problem that affects all sporting codes from elite to community level, so it’s important that initiatives like this continue to receive support.

“While we might be disappointed with a particular call or play, that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to unleash a torrent of online abuse. Smart use of safety technologies is an important tool in every football club’s arsenal.

“eSafety has developed specialist resources with sporting organisations and integrity units to help deal with the issue. You can find these resources and report abuse at eSafety.gov.au/sport.

The research so far:

The issue of abusive behaviour on social media was examined closely by the Australian eSafety Commissioner in their Online Hate Speech report which indicated “around 1 In 7 (14%) adults aged 18–65 are estimated to have been the target of online hate speech.”

The Report also reflected on the negative impact of hateful social media content, finding that “58% (of people experiencing hate speech) report a negative impact from their experience, typically mental or emotional stress, relationship problems or reputational damage.”

Separately, the recent FIFA World Cup 2022 held in Qatar was also examined through the FIFA/FIFPRO Social Media Protection Service Report: Qatar 2022 Analysis. It reported that “targeted individual racism was high volume with more than 300 players being targeted.”

The report indicated 286,895 abusive, discriminatory and threatening comments were detected targeting World Cup participant accounts with sexism, homophobia and racism among the most detected abusive messages.

As proud signatories of eSafety’s Commitment to Online Safety in Sport, A-Leagues and PFA see this extended partnership as a further step in helping to keep all Australians safe online, and a key prevention strategy for athletes and staff who are targets of online abuse.

Find out more about GoBubble Community on their website – gobubblehq.com.

Staff Writer
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Dribl announced as Global Football Technology Partner of CONIFA

Dribl

Dribl, an Australian-based leading provider of football technology solutions, has announced its partnership with CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations.

This strategic alliance marks a significant step forward for Dribl, helping CONIFA streamline operations for their global football competitions, promoting efficiency and providing a dynamic platform for community and fan engagement.

Supporting a true grassroots and international partnership

CONIFA, renowned for its dedication to the joy of playing international football, supports representatives of football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples, and sports isolated territories. This global acting non-profit organisation is committed to enhancing global relations and fostering international understanding through football.

Enhancing the Football Experience for All Dribl’s cutting-edge technology will enable CONIFA to streamline the administration of its global competitions, ensuring efficient and effective management. The partnership will introduce a centralised system that simplifies operations, facilitates better fan engagement through the Dribl app, and ultimately enhances the overall football experience for all participants and fans.

A platform for everyone, everywhere

Dribl CEO Rob Georgievski spoke to the grassroots impact:

“By partnering with CONIFA, we are taking a forward step in truly supporting grassroots football,” he said via media release.

“Our technology is designed to be accessible to everyone, everywhere, ensuring that the joy of football can be shared by all. We are excited to help CONIFA grow and reach more people, providing a seamless and engaging experience for football communities worldwide.”

Commitment to high ethical standards and global unity

CONIFA stands out as the world’s leading organisation for people, nations, and sportingly isolated regions with a commitment to high ethical standards and global unity. This partnership with Dribl aligns perfectly with CONIFA’s mission to contribute to the enhancement of global relations and international understanding through the universal language of football.

Introducing the CONIFA Match Centre

In collaboration with Dribl, CONIFA have introduced their very own Match Centre for the upcoming CONIFA Women World Football Cup 2024 Tournament. This innovative feature will provide fans and participants with real-time updates, comprehensive data, and an engaging user experience, further enriching the connection between the sport and its global audience.

For more information, please visit:

Dribl: https://dribl.com/
CONIFA: https://www.conifa.org/en/

Graduates congratulated after completing FIFA Diploma in Club Management program

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has congratulated the 2024 graduates of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management course at FIFA headquarters, which include former Socceroo Tim Cahill and former Manchester City player Fernandinho.

Since its launch in 2021, the FIFA Diploma in Club Management has become a networking platform for senior club executives to share knowledge about the industry insights essential for successful football club management. The 18-month course is comprised of six-course models, each covering important topics and aspects of club management.

The topics which are covered in this course are leadership and management, sporting strategy and youth academies, marketing and communication, club operations and stadium management, governance and legal matters and finance.

Infantino spoke to the attendees of the graduation ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland:

“The course’s aim was to encourage knowledge and best practice exchange to be able to ensure football’s continued growth and health worldwide,” he said in a statement.

“You understand that club football is crucial for the development and the survival of football in all countries of the world.

“That is what we have to foster and what we have to work on, and to do this, you have to be well-equipped and well-prepared, and this is our aim at FIFA: to give you this preparation, to give you this equipment, to open the doors of FIFA here in Zurich and everywhere in the world.

“Our doors are open for you to come and exchange with us, and also to exchange between yourselves.”

The graduates of the second edition of the FIFA Diploma in Club Management started back in September 2022 in New York where they attended lectures given by the likes of FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger and FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Berman and their final project of the course was a strategy plan which was presented before the graduation.

The third edition of the program began in May 2024 and is headed by FIFA Director of Professional Football Ornella Desirée Bellia. Some of the participants who are involved include former Juventus player Giorgio Chiellini and Como 1907 coach Cesc Fàbregas alongside club owners, CEO’s and sporting directors.

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