EU to combat homophobia in football

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The European Union Justice Commissioner has spoken of his desire to establish a EU police force for sport, and hopes to pilot the idea at next year’s Euro 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Franco Frattini yesterday pledged with €10 million (£7 million) of EU money at a conference on violence in sport.

The money will be used to establish a common training programme for the tournament. Police forces from across the EU will send officers for training in combating hooliganism and other football-related crimes.

The proposed Europe-wide sports police force has been promoted by former French international Michel Platini, who is the President of UEFA, football’s European governing body.

“I talked about a monitoring or control or surveillance organisation, not just for violence but for illegal betting, match fixing, racism and homophobia,” he said yesterday.

“We have gone from spending €3 million to €35 million on security for Euro 2008. That is a lot of money which would be better spent on giving people football pitches rather than ensuring safety and security from a few hooligans.

“I have in mind building specialised European units ready to intervene in a short time if needed. It is a step forward towards the creation one day of a true European police for sports.”

EUFA is committed to stamping out all prejudice in football, and English FA has banned homophobic abuse in every Premier League and Football League club.

The decision to amend the ground regulations was approved after consultation with the Premier League and Football League in the early part of last season.

The new rules state: “Racial, homophobic or discriminatory abuse, chanting or harassment is strictly forbidden and will result in arrest and/or ejection from the Ground.”

The Gay Football Supporters Network has joined forces with The FA, Premier League and Football League clubs to provide Liaison Officers to support clubs across the country.

London is hosting the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) world championship next summer.