August 12, 2009
‘Football institutionally homophobic’ – Stonewall
The Football Association (FA) is facing fresh calls to tackle homophobia following a survey of fans and players which reveals that 70% of supporters have witnessed homophobic abuse.
Stonewall has commissioned a YouGov survey of over 2,000 football fans from across Britain.
There are no openly gay footballers in the FA – and 3 in 5 fans believe that anti-gay abuse from fans and opponents dissuades gay players from coming out.
66% of fans said they would feel comfortable if a player on their team came out, but the vast majority – 90% – don’t believe their team has any gay players.
Almost two thirds of fans believe football would be a better sport if anti-gay abuse was eradicated, and over half think the FA, Premier League and Football League are not doing enough to tackle homophobia in football.
“Sadly, this survey demonstrates that football is institutionally homophobic,’ says Ben Summerskill, Stonewall’s Chief Executive.
“Too little action has been taken about an issue which deters not just gay players and fans from enjoying our national game, but also thousands of other fans too.
“Football has a firm track record tackling problems such as hooliganism and racism. But anti-gay abuse still almost always goes unchallenged.
“When England is looking to host and win the 2018 World Cup, football cannot risk this loss of potential talent and supporters.”
In October 2008 Hampshire Police charged fans with offences of both racist and homophobic abuse after chants directed at Portsmouth player Sol Campbell included the words: ‘We don’t care if you’re hanging from a tree, you’re a Judas c**t with HIV’.
In the same month former professional footballer Paul Elliott said he knew 12 secretly gay football players in the Premiership League.
Download the Stonewall report on homophobia in football Leagues Behind (.pdf file)
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