Sportradar's troll patrol can be as effective as betting detection tool - Krannich

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Sportradar AG’s new service to protect athletes from social media abuse can be as effective as its tool to detect betting-related manipulations in sports, a top official of the Swiss sports data provider told Reuters.

Australian Rules players Callan Ward and Dylan Grimes received online death threats earlier this month, while a recent BBC Sports survey found almost a third of elite British sportswomen have been trolled on social media.

The head coach of England women’s national football team, Phil Neville, last year asked the community to boycott social media for six months to force their owners to act against online racist abuse of players.

Sportradar’s new service, launched on Aug. 17, can boost the fight against this menace and help protect athletes’ mental health and well-being, its Managing Director of Integrity Services, Andreas Krannich, said.

“We have had successful trials with tennis and a number of other sports, and our next step will be to reach out to our partners to extend this service to others,” Krannich said in an email to Reuters.

“All sports and federations with a global audience would benefit the most from it, and we believe this tool can have a similar impact on sport as our FDS (Fraud Detection System) has had on match-fixing.”

Sportradar, which has partnerships with the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, NASCAR and FIFA among others, claims its FDS has reported more than 5,000 suspicious matches across sports in the past 11 years.

Its new service was tested at the Exo Tennis Series across Germany and the United States in May-June where several players, including Germany’s Dustin Brown, shared abusive messages they had received on social media.

It identifies the individuals behind anonymous ‘troll’ or ‘burner’ accounts, helps remove abusive accounts from social media platforms, and works with law enforcement to bring legal proceedings.

“Having a system in place creates a deterrent, even more so when people see that it works,” Krannich said.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Himani Sarkar