Football fans banned for homophobic and racist abuse

Nine Blackpool FC fans have been banned from their home ground for shouting homophobic and racist abuse during Saturday’s match against Preston.

Supporters of both teams complained about offensive chanting and police were asked to investigate.

Following an ongoing investigation, the nine Blackpool fans have been banned and police are scrutinising CCTV footage with the intention of issuing more banning orders.

The start of the 2007/08 season saw a change in football ground regulations with homophobic abuse now deemed punishable.

“The police are now in the process of gathering and reviewing all the evidence available with a view to action against individuals who are identified,” a spokesman for Lancashire police said.

Senior club officials met with police to discuss the matter.

Matt Williams, the Blackpool secretary, said that the club take the allegations of offensive chanting, “very, very seriously.”

“There is no place in society for racist or homophobic behaviour and we will not tolerate such behaviour.

“We will continue to work closely with the police to identify and subsequently ban anyone who has been found guilty of racist and homophobic behaviour.”

It is alleged that Blackpool fans made racist chants mocking the high proportion of Asians that live in Preston. Preston fans reportedly retaliated by chanting homophobic anthems.

Blackpool is well known for its gay scene and attracts thousands of gay travellers every year.

The FA is under increasing pressure to show their opposition to homophobic behaviour.

It was condemned for refusing to investigate the behaviour of Paul Scholes, who allegedly called a referee a, “fucking poof.”

The lesbian and gay pressure group OutRage! has accused the Chief Executive of the Football Association, Brian Barwick, of “arrogance, rudeness and inaction against homophobia.”

However, there have been a number of recent campaigns to crack down on racist and homophobic behaviour during football games.

The FA states on its website:

“Male or female, an individual’s sexual orientation should never be a barrier to people taking part in – and enjoying – our national sport.

“As the guardian of the game in this country, The FA is uniquely placed to tackle issues such as homophobia.

2We can create a supportive, open and inclusive environment by supporting the professional clubs and through our County FA network, which reaches out to every community in the land. Conversely, we can – and will continue to – amend the laws of the game to outlaw homophobic behaviour.”

The FA and the Gay Football Supporters Network last year launched a joint initiative to get gay liaison officers into all 92 league clubs to implement the new ground regulations banning homophobic abuse.