Brighton and Hove Albion praises Nottingham Forest for stance against homophobia

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Brighton & Hove Albion have praised Nottingham Forest for guarding against homophobic abuse – ahead of Saturday’s key clash against the two clubs.

Albion will be playing away to Forest in a vital game which could help them clinch a Championship play-off.

Despite the rivalry, Albion have praised Forest’s “excellent proactive” stance, along with that of Nottinghamshire Police in guarding against the potential for homophobic abuse.

Brighton and Hove Albion supporters have long been subjected to anti-gay chants from rival teams due to the city’s large LGBT population.

Albion Chief Executive Paul Barber said: “We welcome this approach from Nottingham Forest and Nottinghamshire Police – and thank them for it. It is great to see a club and local police force taking such a proactive approach to a very important issue within the game.”

Nottingham Forest media and communications manager Ben White said: “The club will not tolerate this kind of antisocial behaviour at The City Ground and will take the strongest possible action against anyone who is involved in such behaviour.

“We are active in our efforts to remove this type of abuse from our matches and we will not condone any form of chant that may be perceived as offensive, aimed towards our own or the visiting supporters.

“We would like to work with supporters to provide the most enjoyable matchday experience possible and fully encourage them to use our ‘text reporting facility’ in order to report any behaviour they feel is offensive.”

Supt Mark Holland, the match commander, added: “We have been made aware that over the years Brighton and Hove Albion FC have had to put up with a small minority of people who have started or joined in with homophobic chants.

“Alongside the clubs, we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to this type of verbal abuse and we will be taking positive action to identify anyone who is involved. We want everyone to enjoy the game without causing any unnecessary distress.

“Both clubs fully back this approach and Forest also host an antisocial behaviour text service that allows people to report any such behaviour.

“We want supporters to enjoy the match without being offensive to others with chants which are likely to cause offence.”