Third French football game in two weeks interrupted by homophobia

A French league football game between Paris Saint-Germain and Metz was halted by fans with homophobic banners — the third time in two weeks this has happened.

Referee Frank Schneider briefly suspended the game on Friday (August 30) when fans in the Metz stands unfurled banners bearing homophobic messages.

This comes just two days after a match between Nice and Marseille was halted by fans holding similarly homophobic banners, who refused to stop offensive chanting.

It is thought the Metz fans were responding to that incident by holding a banner that read: “PSG, LFP [Ligue 1], let me sing to you, to tell you to go f*ck yourselves! I won’t be on TV because my words are not very gay.”

A second banner referenced the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

The Ligue 1 game between Nice and Marseille was suspended for 10 minutes due to homophobic banners raised by Nice fans (Valery Hache/AFP/Getty)

In response the referee paused the game in the 20th minute and players were escorted off the pitch. Play was resumed a few minutes later, and Paris Saint-Germain beat Metz 2-0.

It appears this is a growing problem this season as ‘homophobic’ songs also halted a third French football game – the Ligue 2 match between Nancy and Le Mans on August 17.

“These songs have no place in a football stadium,” said Nancy president Jean-Michel Roussier after the match.

Marlene Schiappa, France’s gender equality minister, tweeted: “Congratulations to referee Mehdi Mokhtari for having bravely interrupted the match against homophobic songs sung at Nancy-Le Mans.

“Football is an exciting sport. It must remain so for all.”

French referee Clement Turpin gestures to fans before halting the Nice-Marseille game (Valery Hache/AFP/Getty)

New regulations tackling discrimination in French football

The Ligue de Football Professionnel has pledged to clamp down on homophobia at football games this season and announced new plans to target abusive fans.

Referees are instructed to stop play if insults of a homophobic nature are heard during games, and fans face heavy fines and even prison sentences.

Under the new rules, any acts qualified as homophobic can be punished with a €22,500 (£19,500) fine and up to six months in prison.