Stephen Williams calls for zero tolerance of homophobia on football terraces

Stephen Williams MPLiberal Democrat Communities Minister has called for the FA, football clubs and the Police to work together to combat homophobia on football terraces.

From Pink News:

He said: “We need to stamp out homophobia on the terraces with the same vigour that we banished racism. It isn’t acceptable that footballers still feel the need to hide their sexuality out of fear of abuse.

“I want homophobia to be treated with zero tolerance just the same as racism and I want clubs, stewards, the police and FA to work even harder to achieve this aim.

“Football clubs in England and Wales have done a frankly remarkable job at cracking down on racism since it was rife in the 1970s.

“With the occasional exception that draws deserved criticism from fans, our game is leagues ahead of many of our European neighbours when it comes to integration.”

A Lib Dem spokesperson told the Mail: “The powers are already there. This doesn’t need fresh legislation – what it needs is a change of emphasis.”

The article goes on to give examples of homophobic abuse on football terraces.

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  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Aug '14 - 10:46am


    What would you like to see done differently?

  • @The Voice, whoever you may be

    “Stephen Williams calls for zero tolerance of homophobia on football terraces”

    I don’t know which country you are living in but here in the UK football terraces haven’t existed for a couple of decades thanks to something called the Hillsborough disaster. The Hillsborough disaster was an event that claimed the lives of 96 innocent football supporters as a result of a prejudicial attitude towards football supporters that saw them herded like cattle by the police into unsafe stadiums and, in the case of Hillsborough, the fellow supporters, friends and families of the victims and the victims themselves were libelled and smeared by the national media and political classes. 25 years on and the world has moved on. Football is recognised for what it is – a game enjoyed by many people from different classes, races, religions and sexualities. It may not be perfect but it is streets ahead of the world of politics that has regressed in recent ears to being less inclusive, especially the Lib Dem party, which is one of the least diverse mainstream political parties. The prejudice demonstrated in this article shouldn’t have belonged to the 1980s, in the way it did, but that it exists here today is an anachronism that the majority of the population would rightly treat with indignation and bewilderment.

    It seems absurd that I should have to explain why it is prejudiced, but here goes: Why football? Is there any evidence that homophobia is more prevalent in football than rugby/darts/fishing/light entertainment/the media/politics/manufacturing, etc? If there is than that evidence hasn’t been presented in the article. All there is is a link to a bizarre article that quotes a very small number of anecdotes*. The fact that football is explicitly referenced in the headline and article implies that there is a problem specific to football that isn’t present in other industries/ leisure activities, yet there is no attempt in the article to back up this assertion with evidence.

    *The only link to the anecdotes in the article that (a) works and (b) talks about alleged prejudice against a gay footballer is about a German footballer whose colleagues refused to undress in a communal shower with him. This is a very dubious instance of homophobia given that we accept, as a society, that women can shower and change in separate rooms from men so they can avoid feeling uncomfortable about heterosexual men ogling them. What is the difference between women not wanting to undress communally in front of heterosexual men and men not wanting to undress in front of a homosexual man? Anyway, that’s it -the entire world of football apparently has a problem based on this one dubious anecdote.

  • Stephen Donnelly 21st Aug '14 - 7:16pm

    Steve : Google homophobia and football, there is plenty of evidence out there. In my personal experience the terraces are now almost entirely free of racist language, but not of homophobia. You are right about the prejudiced against football fans that lead to the Hillsborough disaster but surely that she lead us to reject all prejudice.

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