Sportradar Integrity Services has launched what it claims is an “industry-first” solution to support sports organisations in safeguarding professional athletes from social media abuse.

The firm’s Intelligence & Investigation Services team has drawn upon advanced techniques, technology and 20 years of experience servicing the sports industry to create a ground-breaking new service that both addresses and protects professional athletes from the growing problem of online abuse.

Available to all sports federations, leagues and governing bodies, the service is designed to protect the mental health and well being of professional athletes by keeping them free from harm online and providing peace of mind by discouraging future trolling and abuse through successful investigation, proactive intervention and disruption.

The service identifies the individuals behind anonymous ‘troll’ or ‘burner’ accounts used to direct abuse towards athletes. As well as providing a high-level location of the ‘troll’, Sportradar’s team of experts builds a picture of how that individual conducts online abuse.  

The findings of the investigation are then shared with its partners and further support is provided in pursuing an appropriate course of action, including the removal of abusive accounts from social media platforms and working with law enforcement to bring legal proceedings.

The product was successfully trialed earlier in the summer at the Exo-Tennis Series across the US and Germany. Participating players from the ATP and WTA Tours, including the US pair of Taylor Townsend and Sachia Vickery and Germany’s Dustin Brown, shared abusive messages they had received on social media. 

Following in-depth investigation, Sportradar then provided the event organizers with details of the problem accounts and a set of recommendations on the best course of action to pursue in order to prevent future trolling and abuse.   

Andreas Krannich, Managing Director Integrity Services at Sportradar, said: “Maintaining the integrity of sport and ensuring that it’s safe, fair and enjoyable for all, has long been our priority. Now, with this new service, we’ve strengthened our position in this space by safeguarding the athletes who compete in it and protecting them from online harm and social media abuse.

“We are providing a tangible output that our partners can share with their athletes and we’re providing support to those partners in pursuing an appropriate course of action. The service we now have in place can act as a deterrent to future online abuse and create real change, particularly when people see the impact it has.

“We believe this safeguarding solution can have a similar positive impact on sport as our Fraud Detection System has had on match fixing, where we’ve reported more than 5000 suspicious matches across global sport in 11 years.