World football premier governing body, FIFA has launched a new ‘social media protection service’ for players at the World Cup that will protect them from receiving hateful social media messages after games.
The new service by FIFA is open to all the players in the 32 competing teams at the World Cup but is being led by former Chelsea player and Brazil international Willian. The 34-year-old midfielder who currently plays for Premier League side Fulham says he’s been targeted by angry fans in the past.
“I am supporting this campaign because I was in Brazil a year ago, and I was suffering a lot, and my family were suffering a lot because people started attacking us on social media, attacking my family, my daughters, and that’s why I’m standing now with FIFA to see if you can stop these kinds of things that make me feel, sometimes, sad,” he said in a press release which was reported by Sportsmail.
According to FIFA, the service can instantly block ‘abusive, discriminatory and threatening comments’ on social media platforms and will help the players to keep their performance at an optimum level.
Speaking about the service, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said;
“I think it will help a lot, for sure, because some players look at it and they don’t care.
“Some of them look and start being sad, they start to change, the player’s performance starts to go down because of this situation. So, I think it will help a lot.
William also added that the support of the player’s family members will be key to staying mentally strong in the face of online abuse.
“I think you have to be strong, you have to be mentally strong because otherwise, it’s going to kill you,’ Willian said in the press release.
“I think you have to [get] support from your family, from your friends and the people that love you. It doesn’t matter if you play [well] or if you play [badly], if you have a good result or not, you have to stay with these people [who] will be with you all the way. But if you don’t have a good mentality, [if you’re not] mentally strong, some players can start to play bad or not get what they want on the pitch, so that’s why.”