West Ham Football Club is probing a homophobic fan leaflet handed out at a match.
PinkNews reported earlier this week that West Ham fans were encouraged to shout homophobic abuse at Chelsea captain John Terry during a match.
The two London teams clashed in the former Olympic Stadium, with West Ham winning 2-1. Supporters raised complaints of homophobic chants, with a ‘songbook’ leaflet handed out before the match targeting Chelsea captain John Terry.
One of the chants states: “John Terry’s queer, he takes it up the rear, he loves to sit on costas [sic] face
“He takes it up the bum, he’s just a Chelsea scum, we’ve got Demitri [sic] Payet”.
A statement from West Ham FC says: “West Ham United are completely and utterly committed to tackling all forms of discrimination in football.
“Working with the Metropolitan Police Service, the club will be investigating the alleged distribution of these flyers, and will take the strongest possible action against those responsible.”
The club added that it is finalising the identification of 200 individuals who will receive stadium bans over wider incidents of disorder during the match.
It said: “Rapid progress has been made in the investigation with extensive CCTV footage being shared with West Ham United, London Stadium partners and the Metropolitan Police.
“Banning notifications will be issued for offences ranging from the use of abusive and offensive language to missile throwing. In line with our zero tolerance policy, all those involved will receive a seasonal or lifetime ban depending on the severity of the offence.
“Footage is also being shared with Chelsea Football Club so they can take action in line with their own policies.”
The club’s LGBT group said previously: “Pride of Irons notes, with disgust, a sheet circulated outside the West Ham vs. Chelsea EFL Cup match by so-called West Ham supporters encouraging fans to sing a chant containing homophobic references to two Chelsea FC players. We condemn these lyrics, which do not represent the views of the vast majority of West Ham United supporters.
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“We encourage any supporters who were offended by the material to raise their concerns with the club, the Metropolitan Police and Kick It Out. Anyone who has any information on who produced or distributed the song sheet should contact the police.”
Alastair Holmes of Pride of Irons told PinkNews: “West Ham United have been very supportive towards our group and we trust that the club will be taking action to identify and deal with the situation.
“We have received a number of messages from our members and followers and know that these homophobic views are not representative of the vast majority of West Ham United supporters.”
The Metropolitan Police confirmed it was investigating the incident as well as other disorder during the match.
A police spokesperson said: “Police are aware of an leaflet handed out before the match containing homophobic contents.
“This will will form part of the post match investigation.”
The last player to come out in the top tiers of English football was Justin Fashanu, who came out in 1990 but died by suicide in 1998 after years of homophobic abuse and allegations of sexual assault.
Appearing in Parliament earlier this month, Football Association chair Greg Clarke said he felt a gay player would still face homophobic abuse as Fashanu did, insisting: “I think there would be significant abuse. I don’t think we’ve cracked the problem yet.”