Browse all

Ajax: why he played with three dots on his jersey

An initiative created to combat social hate

Ajax: why he played with three dots on his jersey An initiative created to combat social hate

Ajax played their Eredivisie match against Sparta Rotterdam on Saturday with a special jersey that was made for a good cause. On the Lancers' white and red jerseys, the player's name above the match number was replaced by three floating dots, the international symbol for silence, to remind people of the danger of online hate and how to stop it. An initiative that confirms the social vocation of the Amsterdam team and shows how they know how to use club symbols to engage their fans on issues that are not obvious and absolutely topical. "Every month, the players of the Ajax men's and women's teams receive more than 1,500 hate messages on social media," the club announced, but later shifted the focus to the many messages that can also reach non-public figures such as the athletes of the most named team in the Netherlands.

Research shows that 82 per cent of Dutch people feel offended when they see hateful messages or comments on social media. However, only 25 percent take action to stop it, contributing to an environment where hate is normalised. With #SilenceSocialHate, Ajax therefore wants to start a discussion about the impact of social hate and how we can work together to silence it. This is a serious issue that is certainly not limited to Dutch borders, but has to do with the toxic and wrong way in which football is experienced in every nation, including Italy. We are well aware of the distortions of online football discourse, including frustration, anonymity and racism. Ajax wanted to sensitise not only its own fans, but also those of all other Eredivisie teams. The initiative was also a success for the Lancers, who won the game 2:1 to return to the top of the table after a very uncertain start.