This football team is kicking out homophobic, transphobic and biphobic fans
Great strides have been made to tackle homophobia and other forms of prejudice and discrimination in football in recent years.
Such action is still clearly needed, if the response to Manchester United’s support of Pride last year is anything to go by.
Following the announcement, one fan wrote: “Homosexuality is a mental disorder. We love them and help them cure. Not promote their lifestyle.”
Another added: “Its not our pride faggots.”
At the forefront of the battle against this behaviour in England is Kick It Out.
Originally founded as Let’s Kick Racism Out Of Football back in 1993, the campaign has grown and expanded its scope, and now aims to tackle other forms of unacceptable behaviour on the terraces and beyond.
One of the latest teams to join forces with the group is Luton Town FC.
The club has given its full backing to Kick It Out’s #CallFullTimeOnHate campaign.
As part of the campaign, all the club’s stewards have been given pocket-sized guidelines on how to deal with any homophobic, transphobic and biphobic abuse at the stadium.
Senior operations manager Kevan Platt said: “It is important to us as a football club that we take every possible step towards ensuring that Kenilworth Road is a welcoming environment for all supporters to watch their football.
“The pocket guide is there for all of our matchday staff to refer to and act upon should anyone be seen or heard directing not just homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse, but racial abuse and any other form of discrimination.”
Ground regulations state that “racial abuse and homophobic abuse, chanting or harassment is strictly forbidden and will result in arrest and/or ejection from the ground. The club may impose a ban for one or more matches”.
“The pocket guide is there for all of our matchday staff to refer to and act upon should anyone be seen or heard directing not just homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse, but racial abuse and any other form of discrimination,” said senior operations manager Kevan Platt.
What’s more, Luton may also ban fans for “one or more matches” for such behaviour.
The club may impose a ban for one or more matches”.
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Kick It Out welcomed Luton’s involvement, saying on Twitter: “Great to see @LutonTown using our resources, created in partnership with @ukhomeoffice and True Vision, to promote inclusion!”
Fans have also been urged to do their bit and report any unacceptable behaviour – but they don’t have to risk a potentially dangerous confrontation to do so.
Supporters who see any discriminatory behaviour can either report it to a steward or use Kick It Out’s free reporting app, available from the Google Play store or Apple’s App store.
Earlier this year, Manchester United became the first sports club to partner with LGBT rights charity Stonewall.
Previously, the entire Premier League in England signed up with Stonewall for its Rainbow Laces campaign, to make sure “their supporter groups to welcome fans in their stadiums, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation”.