Top Australian football club bans ‘so-called supporters’ over ‘disgraceful’ homophobia

A top Australian football club has vowed to ban “so-called supporters” for spouting homophobia at rival teams.

Adelaide City FC chairman Greg Griffin said Friday (11 March) in a statement on the club’s Facebook page that anti-LGBT+ fans are “no longer welcome”.

Griffin said that such vitriol is not only “embarrassing” but is also against the code of conduct of Football South Australia, the region’s governing body.

“The message is simple,” he explained, “you either play by the rules or you do not come.”

Nicknamed the Zebras, Adelaide City is one of Australia’s most successful sides. Competing in the National Premier Leagues, the tier below the A-League Women’s and Men’s competitions.

But recent matches have been riddled by homophobia, Griffin said. And while some fans have so far avoided sanctions, the FSA will work to identify and sanction those engaging in hateful conduct.

“I regret to say that each of the visiting Campbelltown and Cumberland players that have come to Oakden this season have been subjected to disgraceful abuse,” Griffin, a lawyer, continued.

“This is not something that the club will tolerate now being made aware of what has been said by so-called supporters of the club to opposing teams and players.”

As the abuse has piled up, Griffin warned that the anti-LGBT+ attitudes from some supporters were driving away younger footie fans.

“Every time some foul-mouthed supporter screams homophobic and offensive comments at an opposing player, the less likely the parents are to bring their children back the next week,” he explained.

“The future of this club is with our juniors and their families. They are the lifeblood of the club.”

It comes after Australian football club Melbourne Victory was slapped with a stiff fine over homophobic abuse directed at gay footballer Josh Cavallo.

The A-League club was fined $5,000 AUD (£2,650) by Football Australia after fans tossed abuse at Josh Cavallo when his team Adelaide United played Melbourne Victory on 8 January.

Cavallo, who in October became one of the only openly gay footballers playing professional top-flight football, decried the insults on Twitter.

“As a society, it shows we still face these problems in 2022,” he wrote.

“This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold these people accountable.”