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ONLINE ABUSE: Players, managers and referees all under fire on social media


It seems like after every week of football another person suffers abuse online.

From racist remarks to death threats, more and more vicious social media posts are being aimed at prominent Premier League people.

Most notably, referee Mike Dean's life was threatened after decisions he made during recent games.

He felt that strongly about the situation he asked to be left out of selection from the following round of Premier League matches.


Abuse at grassroots level


It's a problem that Kieran Archer believes stems from grassroots football.

"At grassroots, it's in person. It's probably a bit less despicable than death threats, but people are shouting and swearing at young referees trying to make their way up the game," he said.

"Some parents get really, really wound up by referees at that level and it starts from there.

"It kind of sets a precedent that referees are there for the taking."


Scapegoats for online abuse


Cai Sherlock describes referees as scapegoats for when it's the rules that need changing.

"The referees a lot of the time are the scapegoats for the mistakes of the rules," he said on the Busby Way podcast.

"Over time, it's always been the case the referee always bears the brunt (of the fans criticism).

"Unfortunately, I know it shouldn't be the case, but football is an emotional sport and a referee is one of them jobs you go into knowing you're going to have to deal with flak."

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce told the press he had received death threats from 'fans' who wanted him to leave the club.

Liam Brusby, host of the Behind the Leazes podcast on Tyne & Wear TV, spoke of his bemusement around the subject.

"Wanting your manager out is one thing, but sending someone death threats just to try and get them out of your club is absolutely ridiculous," he said.


Social media must do more


People are still calling on social media platforms to do more in the fight to prevent this kind of abuse.

Things such as ID checks, verification methods and stronger punishments are being demanded.

While they continue to work at a solution, the abuse continues to happen.

Until these companies figure out how to pinpoint the abusers, it will unfortunately continue.

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