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Published April 17th 2015

Brandwatch and KickItOut Team Up To Expose Online Football Abuse

Brandwatch have teamed up with Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion organization to publish research revealing the true extent of football abuse.

Brandwatch have teamed up with Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organization and Tempero, a social media management agency, to publish research revealing the true extent of football-related hate crime across social media.

The research, collected using Brandwatch Analytics, focuses on discriminatory messages directed at Premier League football clubs, their fans and players.

The eye-opening study covers all strands of discrimination posted across the 90 million web sources tracked by Brandwatch between August 2014 and March 2015.

The Findings


The top line figures are truly staggering and show the volume of football abuse Kick It Out are dealing with:

  • 134,000 abusive posts on social media this season
  • 95,000 directed at Premier League teams
  • 39,000 directed at Premier League players

The types of discrimination abusers are using: 


Race and gender make up over 50% of all abusive mentions online, ahead of sexual orientation, disability, and anti-semitism discrimination.


Premier League clubs targeted on social media: 

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 10.14.05 AM_BW

Chelsea receive more online abuse than any other Premier League club, with the leaders subject to 20,000 abusive posts. In fact the top two clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool, make up 42% of abusive mentions aimed at Premier League clubs.



Players targeted with abusive mentions: 


Of the 39,000 discriminatory posts directed towards Premier League players, Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli was targeted the most.


The location of the abuse: 

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 10.34.12 AM_BW

The abuse appeared mainly in highly populated areas; London (26,433),  Manchester (8,331) and Merseyside (6,792).

Social media activity on Twitter accounts for 88% of the 134,000 abusive posts, followed by Facebook (8%), forums (3%) and blogs (1%).


The games attracting abuse: 

1 – Chelsea v Liverpool, Capital One Cup – 27 January 2015

2 – Sunderland v Manchester United, Premier League – 24 August 2014

3 – Arsenal v Manchester City, Community Shield – 10 August 2014

4 – Manchester United v Arsenal, The FA Cup – 9 March 2015

5 – Liverpool v Manchester United, Premier League – 22 March 2015

6 – Chelsea v Arsenal, Premier League – 5 October 2014

7 – Liverpool v Chelsea, Premier League – 8 November 2014

8 – Manchester United v Liverpool, Premier League – 14 December 2014

The eight games attracting the most discriminatory mentions contain one common theme; each game contains a high profile, well supported club.

The overview: 

  • 16,800 discriminatory posts a month
  • 551 discriminatory posts a day
  • 1 discriminatory post every 2.6 minutes


All research collected for this report was found using Brandwatch Analytics, a world leading social listening platform.

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