Southampton fan arrested for ‘homophobic hand gestures’ at Brighton match
Police have arrested a man for making a “homophobic hand gesture” during a match between Premier League clubs Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Southampton took on Brighton on Monday night (September 17) at home at St Mary’s Stadium, with the match ending in a 2-2 draw.
A spokesperson for Hampshire Police confirmed the arrest, telling PinkNews: “A man was seen to be making homophobic hand gestures towards Brighton fans.
“A 25-year-old man from Southampton was arrested under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
“He has been released from police custody but remains under investigation.”
A Twitter account for Hampshire Police’s football unit also posted about the incident, writing: “Great atmosphere tonight , sadly one arrest for homophobic abuse.”
Brighton, the UK’s unofficial gay capital, has previously been targeted with homophobic abuse at football matches.
In August 2017, Leicester City ejected a number of fans from its stadium for homophobic chanting in a home match against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The arrest at the Southampton match comes after Arsenal defender Héctor Bellerín recently spoke to The Times about the homophobic abuse he has received online and on the pitch, saying fans are “not ready” for a gay male footballer.
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Writing for PinkNews, Dave Raval, chair of Arsenal’s GayGooners—the UK’s first LGBT+ supporters club—said it was up to fans to take the lead in tackling homophobia in the Premier League.
“People always ask when a player is going to come out. But a better question is: ‘When are the fans going to come out?’ You can’t expect a player to do so if they are the first person to out themselves in a whole stadium,” he wrote.
Raval added: “With more and more LGBT+ fans publicly entering football, hearts and minds will change, and abuse will diminish.
“Once it’s been tackled in the stadiums and online, the sport will be a whole lot better for fans and players alike.”