Lib Dems: Homophobic chanting to be treated as seriously as racism

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Homophobia at football games will be dealt with as severely as racism under plans announced by the Lib Dems at their party conference in Glasgow.

The party voted on Tuesday for an independent commission to look at the way football is tackling the issue and to make the game more inclusive.

Lib Dem MP John Leech, who has long campaigned against homophobia and transphobia in football, welcomed the move.

“In the 21st century, football grounds need to be a place where everyone feels comfortable, regardless of their whether they are black or white, straight or gay,” the MP for Manchester Withington said.

“Football has worked hard to try and kick racism out of the game. The Liberal Democrats want to see the same effort put in dealing with homophobia.

“Liberal Democrats believe in a fair society, and that means building a national game that people can watch without fear of being abused for the colour of their skin or their sexuality.”

Last month, Lib Dem Communities Minister Stephen Williams urged the Football Association to work alongside the police to tackle the problem of homophobic abuse by fans.

A survey published in March of 200 footballers showed 39% had witnessed homophobic abuse in stadiums and on the training ground or in the dressing room.