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Officials refuse to act as LGBT Olympians face vile homophobic abuse from Rio crowds

Joe Williams August 8, 2016
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A number of out athletes have been subjected to homophobic abuse since the games began last week.

LGBT athletes are being targeted with homophobic chants from crowds at this year’s Olympics in Rio.

Female football players have reported hearing anti-gay Portuguese insults ‘bicha’ and ‘puta’ shouted by Brazilian fans – as well as ‘Zika’, referring to the virus that is currently gripping the country.

US soccer player Megan Rapinoe – one of over 40 LGBT athletes competing in the event – says the “hurtful” jibes are down to “mob mentality”.

She added that although she knows all fans aren’t homophobic, it is their responsibility to challenge the supporters who are.

“I don’t think that all Brazilians fans or everyone that was there last night is homophobic,” she told the LA Times.

“But I think that they are complicit in it as long as they’re doing it.

“FIFA can crack down as much as they want but it’s up to individuals in the stands to not participate in that kind of behaviour.”

However, it seems FIFA has no intention of “cracking down” at all, after a statement from the association said it will not act until players launch a formal complaint.

FIFA is the international governing body of football, and is responsible for major international tournaments across the world.

In May, the body issued fines against several South American teams due to homophobic chants from fans – including Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Croatia.

Despite this, FIFA has faced intense criticism for its lack of action against homophobic fans and players, as well as its willingness to allow tournaments to be held in anti-gay countries.

Earlier this year, out football star Robbie Rogers recently claimed: “FIFA is corrupt… it’s run by racist, sexist homophobic dudes, who are in charge and put their buddies in charge.”

LGBT rights groups have also previously flagged “deep concern” with the association’s decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, as both countries operate strict anti-gay legislation.

Related topics: Gay, Homophobia, LGBT, olympics 2016, Rio

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