Footballer Yann Songo’o sent off in disgrace after spitting homophobic slur at rival player

Yann Songo'o

Morecambe FC must answer for its midfielder Yann Songo’o after he was sent off the pitch in disgrace for hurling a homophobic slur at a rival player.

Referee Paul Howard handed Songo’o the red card for his “foul and abusive language” in the 45th minute of the League Two game against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday (30 January).

The outburst occurred after a foul that left one of Tranmere’s players injured and requiring treatment. As a huddle formed between the two teams, Songo’o was shockingly heard calling another player a “faggot”.

While it’s not clear who the slur was directed at, one Tranmere player can be heard shouting “Woah woah, you heard that” at the referee to alert the match official of the slur.

Morecambe FC has not yet commented on the incident. A statement from Tranmere said: “TRFC have a policy of not commenting publicly on specific disciplinary issues relating to other clubs or their players and therefore will be not making any statement regarding yesterday’s incident.

“We reiterate our firm belief that there is no place for homophobia within football.”

Tranmere’s LGBT+ fans group, Rover and Out, said they stand by their club and that they are proud of their players’ response in “immediately recognising this language as unacceptable”.

“We would like to thank the referee, Mr Howard, who acted swiftly to remove the player from the pitch and will be contacting him to express our gratitude for his decisive action,” they continued.

The statement adds that they will be writing to Morecambe FC to raise their concerns and learn what the club is doing to avoid such behaviour in future.

Yann Songo’o’s language was similarly condemned by football equality group Kick It Out, which has reported a worrying rise in reports of discrimination on the pitch, with homophobic abuse almost doubling over the past year.

Writing on Twitter, the group reiterated its support for Rover and Out and the wider fight against homophobia in football.

“There is no place for homophobic language in football. It is damaging and hurtful. As role models, players in particular should be mindful of the impact of their words,” it said.

The game was a double disaster for Songo’o after his team lost 1-0 to Tranmere thanks to a goal from Kaiyne Woolery in the 74th minute.