A Critical Analysis of Past and Present Campaigns to Challenge Online Racism in English Professional Football

Katie Liston, Daniel Kilvington, Jack Black, Mark Doidge, Thomas Fletcher, Colm Kearns, Theo Lynn, Gary Sinclair

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Although racism in football stadiums has generally decreased over the last two decades, social media has provided a platform for fans and the far-right to racially abuse players, clubs, and fans in relative safety. In 2022, The Alan Turing Institute released a report which tracked abuse on Twitter towards Premier League players across the 2021-22 season. Their machine learning tool found that there were 59,871 abusive tweets directed at Premier League footballers with 68 percent of players receiving abuse at least once. So, what is English football doing to challenge this, and protect its players? This chapter begins by showcasing the findings from Kearns et al, (2022) who published a Scoping Review (SR) of sport, social media, and hate, completed as part of a research project – Tackling Online Hate in Football. This found that a total of 41 peer-reviewed articles were published in this field since 2005, with football receiving the most attention. Twitter is the platform most examined to date and racism is the most researched issue in the context of this scoping review. Building on this, the chapter first contextualises the existing research, including a focus on football-related online racism and a theorisation of factors underpinning online racism. Both of these provide a suitable backdrop for the next part of this chapter where we critically analyse several campaigns and strategies used by key stakeholders to curb online racism and wider forms of discrimination in football. In our final summary, we put forward some ideas and counter measures to challenge online racism in football.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHate Crime in Football
Subtitle of host publicationHow Racism Is Destroying the Beautiful Game
EditorsImran Awan, Irene Zempi
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherBristol University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)978-1529227185
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Oct 2023


  • football
  • social media
  • Twitter
  • hate speech
  • scoping review


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