Robbie Rogers wants ‘zero tolerance’ for homophobic football chants
Openly gay LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers has called for a stronger “zero tolerance” approach to homophobia in football.
The former Leeds United player came out publicly as gay in February 2013 as he announced his retirement from UK football – though he has made a comeback as a player for LA Galaxy in the US.
Rogers – who is the first British footballer to come out since Justin Fashnu – called for a tougher approach after a survey found half of lesbians and nearly two-thirds of gay men reported experiencing homophobia in sport.
“I believe one of the biggest reasons people remain in the closet is the homophobic language they hear. This extends to the slurs and chants heard from spectators.
“Not only is this causing gay players to feel unwelcome, the study found it’s also affecting fans. This is not acceptable, everyone should be able to enjoy sports.
“It’s time that all sports enforce a zero tolerance of hateful language on and off the field.”
The Liberal Democrats had pledged to introduce a specific law that would make homophobic chanting at football matches a criminal offence in the UK on the same level as racist chanting – but it is unlikely to come about following the party’s electoral wipe-out.
The sportsman has previously branded it “insane” that countries like Qatar and Russia, which have very poor records on LGBT rights, are allowed to host the World Cup.