FA to investigate abuse at Nottingham Forest match

The Football Association has said it will not tolerate homophobic or disctiminatory behaviour from fans after Cardiff City’s manager was verbally abused during Saturday’s match against Nottingham Forest.

Dave Jones, who has been at the Welsh club since 2005, said it was a “minority of idiots” chanting abuse.

During the 1999–2000 season Mr Jones, then manager of Southampton, was cleared as part of an investigation into child abuse.

He had been employed as a care worker in the late 1980s. The case was thrown out of court and the judge commented it should never have come to trial.

The FA confirmed today that they are investigating the abuse targeted at him by Forest fans.

“We strongly condemn any chanting which contains foul and abusive language or is of a homophobic or discriminatory nature,” it said in a statement.

“At this stage is that we are gathering information on this.”

Mr Jones told the BBC:

“I’m not tarring all Forest fans with the same brush, I’m talking about the minority of idiots who were chanting.

“People who are chanting probably don’t know what they’re chanting, they’re following the fool that is in front of them.

“As one woman said to me once, it’s all part of the banter. But that’s not banter because I had my children in the crowd and the only people who are being abused are my children in the stands.

“They think it gets at me and my team, it doesn’t affect me because I am hardened to it. It’s not that I’m used to it, I block it out.

“But my daughters are in the stand watching the game, it’s not a nice thing to hear.

“The chants worked against Forest on Saturday because if not more than half of the Forest crowd were so annoyed and disgusted at what the minority were saying – it made for quite an eerie atmosphere.

“They’re the losers because we’ve come away with the points and they’re being slammed for the abuse. But it seems to be in the game.”

Last month Portsmouth captain Sol Campbell, an ex-England defender, was subject to racist and homophobic taunts from the crowd during a Premiership game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham fans reportedly dislike Mr Campbell due to his transfer from Tottenham to rival team Arsenal in 2001.

Hampshire Constabulary said that the scale of the abuse meant that arrests could not be made, but the incident will be fully investigated.

Homophobic abuse is against the rules in every Premier League and Football League club.

The Football Association’s decision to amend the ground regulations was approved in 2007 after consultation with the leagues.

In May a campaign was launched to help stamp out homophobia in British football.

It aims to “vindicate the memory of Justin Fashanu, the world’s first openly gay professional footballer.”

A 2006 survey found out that 57% of footballers think that football is homophobic.

The aim of the Justin Campaign is to get the FA to observe Saturday 2nd May 2009 as Justin Fashanu Day.

In July two Preston North End fans were banned from the club’s ground for a year and fined by magistrates.

They were convicted of public order offences after chanting homophobic slogans during a game in Blackpool in March and banned from Blackpool FC’s ground.

Nine Blackpool fans were banned from their home ground for shouting homophobic and racist abuse during the same match against Preston.

Today Mr Jones told the BBC: “The game is trying to cut out all abuse, it has got to be stamped out.

“But it’s only a minority and I’d like to thank the Forest supporters who have sent me letters of support.”