Yet another football match abandoned by team walking off in protest after ‘homophobic’ slur hurled at player

Patrick Kelleher October 11, 2020
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People playing soccer on a pitch

(Stock image from Envato Elements)

Yet another football team has abandoned a game in protest after a member of the opposing team allegedly used a homophobic slur against one of their players.

Shipham AFC, a football club based in Somerset, England, walked off during a game against Portishead Town FC on Saturday (10 October) after a homophobic slur was allegedly hurled at one of their players.

The incident comes just weeks after American footballer Junior Flemmings made international headlines when he used a homophobic slur against gay footballer Collin Martin during a match. Flemmings was handed a six-game ban over the incident.

Writing on Twitter, Shipham AFC said their team walked off over “clear homophobic abuse” from a Portishead Town FC player.

“Unacceptable behaviour at any level of the sport,” the football club said in a tweet. “Absolutely disgusting and the player in question needs to have a long hard look at himself.”

Meanwhile, Shipham AFC player Rob Scanlon tweeted: “I played football today and one of the Portishead Town players said a clear homophobic insult to one of our players.

“I’m not standing for that and we walked off. Game abandoned. Proud of our reaction.”

In a later tweet, Scanlon said the initial reaction from Portishead Town FC was “disheartening”, saying opposing players told them: “Don’t embarrass yourselves by walking off.”

Scanlon also said Portishead Town FC players referenced the fact that Shipham AFC was losing at the time of the incident. He accused the team of “completely missing the point”.

The fallout intensified when Portishead Town FC accused Shipham AFC of initiating a “witch-hunt” against its players.

“We are [a] fully inclusive family oriented club and do not condone this sort of behaviour and will investigate and assist the league and Shipham once the report is in,” the club’s statement said.

“However, that said, we do feel that it’s somewhat unfair for certain parties to use their position to continue to tweet incendiary comments towards our players, given they are all from his viewpoint alone.

“Again, as a club we do NOT find this behaviour acceptable, but to conduct a public witch-hunt and act as judge and jury in this manner is not conducive to a positive outcome for either side.”

The club closed out its statement by urging opposing players to “give some thought” to their tweets.

The incident comes just weeks after a report found that there had been a huge spike in homophobic and racist abuse in football in the 2019/2020 football season.

Kick It Out, an organisation that monitors discrimination in football, found that there was a significant rise in discriminatory abuse at both football matches and in discussions about football online.

They received 117 reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation, almost double the 60 incidents recorded in 2018/2019 football season.





More: Collin Martin, homophobic abuse, Junior Flemmings

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