Football fan charged over homophobic ‘Chelsea rent boy’ chant at Premier League match

A flag bearer waves a Chelsea FC flag with the LGBT+ Progress flag design

A football fan will appear in court next week after being charged for using the homophobic “Chelsea rent boy” chant at a recent match between Everton and Chelsea.

At the Westminster Magistrates Court, Ethan Davies was charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour, as well as allegedly “chanting Chelsea rent boy” during the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge on 18 March. 

The 21-year-old, who lives in the Greasby, Merseyside, is expected to appear in the dock on 24 April to face the two charges, the Evening Standard reported. 

In January 2022, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed that it would treat the “vile and disgusting” chant as a hate crime.

The demeaning phase directed at Chelsea players and supporters by opposition fans holds homophobic connotations that are intimately connected with Chelsea’s queer history, with the chant effectively being a homophobic insult that implies male Chelsea players and fans sell sex to other men.

Davies’ charges related to using the chant follow a string of homophobic incidents at football matches, which highlight the need for firmer action against discrimination in the sport. 

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An arrest was made on 11 January after homophobic abuse was reported at a match between Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

A few weeks later, at a Liverpool v Chelsea match on 21 January, three were arrested for crimes relating to homophobic chanting. 

In 2022, Liverpool condemned alleged homophobic chanting aimed at then Norwich midfielder Billy Gilmour, who was on loan from Chelsea, during the Reds’ 3-0 win at Carrow Road.

The incident saw the FA say it is determined to drive the slur “rent boy” out of football.

In a bid to tackle a worrying increase in homophobia in UK men’s football, the international initiative Football v Homophobia published a call for action. 

It called on the Football Association, professional clubs, media, police and prosecution authorities to crackdown on homophobia in the sport. 

It also requests that football authorities and clubs “make tackling homophobia and wider LGBTIQ-phobia a priority, to prevent a spread of the abuse we have seen”. 

PinkNews has contacted Everton and Chelsea Football Clubs for comment