Elton John and rugby chief support homophobia video – but footballers stay silent

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Elton John, the chief of the Rugby Football Union and the gay Irish hurler Donal Óg Cusack have all given their support to the FA’s anti-homophobia video.

The figures gave their support to the film in a statement today (Friday), but not a single footballer came forward to condemn homophobia.

Although the FA cancelled the premiere of the viral ad, it said it still planned to show it to match stewards as a training and education tool.

It shows a fan hurling homophobic abuse at people in the street and co-workers without being challenged.

The cancellation was revealed last week when the FA admitted it had more work to do on the film.

The film was criticised by some of those consulted over it, including Peter Tatchell and John Amaechi. Mr Tatchell said he was disappointed top players had refused to get involved.

Sir Elton said: “I fully support the initiative and hope people realise that homophobic abuse at matches should not be tolerated.”

Cusack, who came out last year, said: “The FA is showing excellent leadership in this. When I came out to a team which was at the top of its game the reaction could be summed up in two words: ‘Yeah? So?'”

Meanwhile, Francis Barron, the chief executive of England’s Rugby Football Union, said he welcomed “any scheme that seeks to remove discrimination from sport and which enhances the experience of gay or lesbian participants playing or watching sport”.

Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor said homophobia was “unacceptable”, adding that he applauded the “ongoing work in this arena”.

Yesterday, Mr Taylor tried to defend top-level players for their failure to back the initiative.

He told the Independent: “Everybody assumes footballers are full of confidence, but it is not easy on issues like this.

“Remember there was a time when even black players did not feel they could talk about race.”

Despite several heterosexual footballers suffering homophobic abuse, all of the big-name players and their agents who were approached refused to support the video.