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Euro 2024: ‘Deepfake’ Gareth Southgate social media videos anger FA

At a major tournament England head coach Gareth Southgate’s words are analysed, deconstructed and debated.

But Euro 2024 has brought a new dimension – AI-generated fake interviews with the England boss that are being viewed by millions on social media.

These fake clips purporting to show Southgate making crude remarks about his players have been called “offensive” by the Football Association.

The videos have been circulating on TikTok and Instagram.

They include derogatory comments about England’s Euro 2024 players as well as those who were not selected.

Comments on the social sites suggest the material, about players such as Phil Foden, Jordan Henderson, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford, had been believed by some viewers.

The videos are all made to look like Southgate is giving press conferences, but use an AI voice generator to overlay fake words and artificially move his mouth.

In one of them the artificial voice apologises “to the nation” for the manager’s performance and criticises players.

In another, the fake Southgate says: “I think we really missed Jordan Henderson’s presence out there tonight.”

BBC Sport spoke to several England fans in Germany who had seen the material on social media.

The majority said they found the content funny.

“It’s the classic stereotypical British humour. It helps build a bit of morale to keep people motivated and happy, so I think it’s harmless fun,” one supporter told BBC Sport.

“Apparently, Gareth doesn’t read anything or watch any social media anyway.”

Another described some of the videos as “quite funny” but pointed out it was not just the England manager who has been targeted.

“I’ve seen a lot of players and, during the season, [Jurgen] Klopp, Pep [Guardiola] and [Mikel] Arteta getting it too.”

However, the FA said in a statement: “As we do with all harmful content we will take steps to have these offensive videos removed.

“Gareth and everyone in camp are focused on Sunday’s game.”

England won Group C of Euro 2024 and face Slovakia in the last 16 – but there has been criticism of the way England have played as well as of Southgate personally.

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