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MPs call for football fans who chant homophobic abuse to be banned from games

Meka Beresford February 12, 2017

A parliamentary review has called for football fans who chant homophobic slurs to be banned from games for up to two years.

The House of Commons inquiry into homophobia in sport called for bans between one and two years long to be issued to those who shout hateful abuse during games.

The report, which was compiled by the Culture, Media & Sport select committee, focused heavily on football and accused organisers of failing to reflect “the significant change in society’s attitudes to homosexuality in the last 30 years”.

“Football clubs should take a tougher approach to incidents of homophobic abuse, issuing immediate bans,” the inquiry stated.

“We are not advocating immediate lifetime bans. Instead, issuing bans of one to two years in the first instance would indicate clearly that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Evidence found in the inquiry suggested that football was “particularly troubling” because it was considered an unsafe environment for gay players to come out in.

The report, which was published this weekend, encouraged professional footballers to come out if they feel “comfortable and confident” and ensured those who do “will make a valuable and significant contribution” to the game.

The report suggests that players also shy away from coming out because of sponsorship deals, and recommends that sponsors write agreements into their contracts with players that states their deal would not be terminated or their position affected if they came out.

The committee also condemned the BBC for shortlisting Tyson Fury for the Sports Personality of the Year award.

“The inclusion of Tyson, despite a series of violently homophobic remarks, is symptomatic of homophobia not being taken seriously enough in sport, or the media that shows it.”

“The committee has queried the judgment of BBC executives in including Fury on the shortlist, and was very dissatisfied with BBC director-general Lord Hall’s response to the controversy,” the report said.

Hall failed to condemn Fury’s inclusion in the shortlist when he came before the committee and declared that he “believed in the the process of selection”.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The British public decides who becomes Sports Personality of the Year. A panel of experts in Sport unanimously agreed that Tyson Fury should be on the shortlist for the public vote based solely on his sporting achievement in being crowned World Heavyweight Champion – we were clear it was not an endorsement of his personal views.”

An FA spokesman said: “We welcome the report and we will review it in full. Tackling homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in football is one of chairman Greg Clarke’s top priorities.”

More: football, football fans, Homophobia, LGBT, sport

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