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Homophobic Belgian football fans will receive an immediate ban under firm new guidelines

Lily Wakefield November 12, 2019
Belgian football fans

Fans of Antwerp showing their colours during a Jupiler Pro League match between Royal Antwerp FC and Club Brugge. (Peter De Voecht / Photonews via Getty)

Racist and homophobic fans will be banned from football games in Belgium, according to a new action plan by the country’s top football competition.

The Jupiler Pro League will ban fans who make racist or homophobic comments or chants, or who sing discriminatory songs, and they will not be allowed to return until they take a special course.

It is not yet clear what the course would entail, but the action plan will be officially presented on Wednesday, November 13.

The action plan will set out rules for professional clubs in Belgium who will be responsible for the behaviour of their fans.

A Juliper Pro League spokesperson told The Brussels Times: “After a series of incidents in recent years, [discriminatory] behaviour can no longer go unpunished.

“At every offensive song that appears in the referee’s report of the football match, the clubs concerned will have to respond to it, without exception.”

In September, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) Noël Le Graët said he would stop a football game because of racist chants, but he is “totally against” stopping one because of homophobic chants.

He told French radio France Info: “We will make sure there are no more [homophobic banners and chants]. But stopping a game? No, I would not stop the games – totally against this.”

He then added: “I would stop a match if there are racist chants, that is clear.” He also said that racism and homophobia “are not the same thing”.

During the same month in the UK, a Macclesfield Town fan said he was subjected to “abuse” after trying to stop the “homophobic” chants of other fans, while stewards “did nothing about it”.

He told PinkNews: “I expect banter and shouting at the football, but if you can’t do that without being a homophobic bigot then that’s your fault, not the fault of people for being upset about it.

“We all have a responsibility to make football accessible to everyone and that includes the LGBT+ community, who can be put off going because of this kind of stuff.”

More: Belgian pro league, Belgium, football, Homophobia, Jupiler pro league, racism, sport

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