Poll: 39% of footballers witness homophobic abuse

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A survey of 200 footballers has shown 39% have witnessed homophobic abuse in stadiums and on the training ground or in the dressing room.

The survey by football’s anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has concluded that anti-gay abuse and racism is still “rife” in football.

Former Charlton midfielder Paul Mortimer, who now works with Kick It Out, said: ”These statistics show what players see from the pitch and in the training grounds.

”Now we have these figures we can go ahead and do something about it, pinpoint areas and put strategies in place.”

The results showed 65% of players were aware of the process to report abuse and were confident about doing so, while 91% said social media has led to a big increase in abuse.

”It is a huge problem,” added Mr Mortimer. ”We have a reporting app which players can report social media abuse on and we also want to educate people how to handle abuse, such as not responding in person.”

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton told students at the Oxford Union last week that football has made “so much progress” on tackling homophobia.

Earlier this month, a Channel 4 documentary showed that homophobic chanting by fans remains a key problem for clubs across the country.