West Ham bosses urge fans not to use homophobic chants at Premier League games
A co-chair and a shareholder of West Ham football club have urged fans to avoid using homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs at Premier League matches.
David Sullivan, the largest single shareholder of the club, and joint chairman David Gold, asked fans not to use the slurs in a statement released this week.
The team will take on rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, and fans have been known to make anti-semitic and homophobic slurs in the past.
The statement from Gold and Sullivan read: “West Ham United would like to thank all supporters who have purchased a ticket for Saturday’s season opening London derby with Tottenham Hotspur. The Hammers enjoyed three memorable wins against Spurs last season, with the resultant press coverage of each game rightly focusing on the action on the pitch. Saturday’s game is likely to be an immensely passionate affair and, as ever, we know both sets of fans will be providing plenty of vocal support for their team.
“However, West Ham United seeks to remind all home fans attending the match at the Boleyn Ground that they will be acting as ambassadors for West Ham United and their behaviour should reflect the values and standards of our club. We are proud to support causes that promote tolerance and inclusion and tackle discrimination in whatever form it takes. Therefore, any inappropriate behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the club.
“Working with the Metropolitan police, the club will continue to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards any form of discriminatory behaviour and any fan found to be acting inappropriately – including racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic behaviour – will be punished to the full extent of the law and banned from attending matches.
“Everyone at West Ham United is looking forward to the first game of the new season at the Boleyn Ground, where the famous Claret and Blue Army can show the world what being a Hammers fan is all about – supporting with pride, passion and respect.”
Tottenham also urged visiting teams not to use discriminatory language, saying: “As we look forward to the Premier League season getting underway this weekend, we should like to remind all our fans making the trip for our season opener at West Ham United that the Metropolitan police will adopt a zero tolerance policy towards any form of behaviour they deem to be discriminatory.
“All of our supporters travelling to Upton Park are doing so as ambassadors of the club and we would ask that they behave in a manner of which we can be proud. The club does not tolerate discrimination of any sort, on the pitch or in the stands, and we shall also take appropriate action against anyone heard using abusive, offensive or obscene language.
“Our fans generate a fantastic, positive atmosphere both at the Lane and on our travels and we hope everyone continues to focus their energies on cheering the team on.”