FA condemns use of homophobic ‘Chelsea rent boy’ chant by Manchester City fans
The Football Association (FA) has condemned homophobic chants at recent games, following two vile weekend incidents.
The FA will look into alleged abuse from Man City fans which occurred on Sunday (8 January), during the club’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.
It comes two days after the FA said it will also speak to Manchester United after similar chanting occurred during its 3-1 win over Everton on Friday (6 January).
The Friday incident saw a ‘rent boy’ chant seemingly directed at Everton’s manager, Frank Lampard, which stems from his time as Chelsea manager between 2019 and 2021, and his previous time with the club as a player.
The FA, Manchester United, Manchester City and LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall have all now condemned homophobic chants at football games.
The FA told PinkNews: “We strongly condemn the use of the term ‘rent boy’ and we are determined to drive it out of our game.
“We continue to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), as well as the UK Football Policing Unit, in relation to the use of this term.
“Part of our work in this area has been to provide the relevant authorities with impact statements from LGBTQ+ supporters, detailing how chants of this nature affects their experience and feeling of inclusion at football matches so that a clearer stance and understanding on the chant can be established.
“We stand firmly against all forms of discrimination and are striving to ensure our game is a safe environment for all, which truly embraces diversity and challenges hateful conduct both on and off the pitch.”
Following the Sunday incident Manchester City said the club “strongly condemns the behaviour of a minority of fans”.
“We are proud to celebrate inclusivity in football and ask all fans to join us in creating a positive environment and atmosphere, where everyone is welcomed, accepted and has a fantastic matchday experience.”
Man United said: “Homophobia, like all forms of discrimination, has no place in football.
“Manchester United is proud of our diverse fan base and the work we have done to reduce instances like we sadly heard today.
“We will continue to campaign for inclusivity and to tackle discriminatory abuse whether inside stadiums or online. This includes working with fan groups to educate fans on the offence which discriminatory language causes.”
‘Hate is far too common in sport’
A spokesperson for Stonewall tells PinkNews that football bodies need to “continue to take homophobia seriously”.
“These chants are another reminder that anti-LGBTQ+ language and hate is far too common in sport,” says Liz Ward, Director of Programmes.
“It’s vital that football teams and sporting bodies, continue to take homophobia seriously to ensure that players and fans feel safe when participating in the sports they love.”
This isn’t the first time there have been disturbances involving Chelsea fans. Last year, CPS confirmed that it considers the term ‘rent boy’ to be a homophobic slur, meaning that those using it could be liable for prosecution under hate crime laws.
It follows Nottingham Forest’s draw with Chelsea on Sunday (1 January) being married by homophobic chants of “Chelsea rent boy”.
In January 2022, the CPS called the chant “vile and disgusting”.
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