Everton condemns fans’ disgusting homophobic chanting aimed at Chelsea players

Everton flag at football match

Everton has condemned homophobic chants from its club’s fans during a Premier League match with Chelsea.

The chant, “Chelsea rent boys”, has received widespread criticism for its homophobic connotations for years, with the Football Association (FA) vowing to “drive it out of football”.

Everton drew attention to its All Together Now inclusivity campaign, while criticising the chant as “unacceptable”. 

The club said on Twitter: “Everton condemns the homophobic chanting directed at a Chelsea player this evening at Stamford Bridge. Such behaviour is unacceptable and does not represent the values of our club or our wider fanbase.

“Through our All Together Now campaign we promote and celebrate the diversity and inclusivity within our club, our game and our community.

“We expect fans to reflect those values by refraining from any discriminatory chanting in the future.”

An LGBT+ football fan group also condemned the chant, saying “it’s wrong, it’s homophobic and needs to stop”. 

The group, Rainbow Toffees, said on Twitter: “We’ve been informed of the Chelsea Rent Boy chants. This is something we totally condemn. It’s wrong, it’s homophobic and needs to stop.

“We have brought this up with the club in the past and will be bringing it up again.”

The song is rumoured to have originated in the 1980s after newspapers reported that a Chelsea hooligan was found in bed with a male prostitute (or “rent boy”) after a raid by police.

The song also received criticism at the beginning of December, when it was sung during a match taking part in Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign to fight homophobia and encourage LGBT+ inclusion in sport.

Crystal Palace player Conor Gallagher, who is on a season-long loan from Chelsea, was on the receiving end of the chant. 

Leeds United said in a statement that the support from its fans at the game was “magnificent” before condemning those who carried out the “unacceptable” homophobic abuse.

“Once again the fans got behind the team and played a huge part in pushing the players on to get the late winner,” the statement said.

“However, we are aware of a homophobic chant directed at a Crystal Palace player and we want to be very clear that this is unacceptable.”