Football fan handed three-year match ban by court over homophobic abuse

Football fan arrested chelsea wolves

A football fan has been banned from attending matches for three years after homophobic chanting at an April fixture. 

Liam Duce, of High Park Crescent in Sedgley, was given a three-year football banning order and fined 461 GBP by Dudley Magistrates Court on Thursday (15 June).

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to using threatening or abusive words and behaviour.

Duce was arrested on 8 April this year for homophobic chanting during a match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea at the Wolves home ground, Molineux Stadium.

Commenting on the conviction, PC Stuart Ward, football hate crime officer from West Midlands Police, said: “There is no place for discrimination in football, or society in general, and we will always fully investigate any reports we receive.

“There is no place for homophobia in football or society in general.”

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Chelsea Pride, the LGBTQ+ supporters group for the club, wrote on Twitter: “Homophobia has no place in football.

“We always look to educate when it comes to discrimination. We will continue working with our club, the football authorities, police, CPS and all those looking to kick hate and discrimination out of football.”

Two others were arrested alongside Duce on 8 April, after fans refused to stop singing homophobic chants following verbal warnings from officials.

At the time, Wolves condemned the behaviour in a post-match statement, stating that such homophobia is “not tolerated” within Molineux or by the club.

“Homophobia, like all other forms of discrimination, has no place in football or society,” the statement read.

“Anyone engaging in discriminatory behaviour is committing a criminal offence. As a result, we can confirm that three arrests were made by West Midlands Police relating to homophobia, and the discriminatory chants in question.”

The club added everyone should be should be welcome at the stadium and reinforced its policy of the club and its supporters being “one pack”.

“[It is] an attitude we are passionate about and that extends to our relationships across the football community, regardless of rivalries of what happens on the football pitch.”

Away team Chelsea also condemned the chanting.

“Chelsea will continue to work closely with Chelsea Pride and the broader football community to eradicate these vile chants from our game,” the London club stated. 

The now-banned ‘Chelsea rent boy‘ chant has been the source of much controversy in recent months, despite warnings from officials that fans who use it will be arrested and punished and clubs that allow their fans to chant the words could face fines, some supporters remain unfazed.

The Football Association said that it is “determined” to expel the chant from the game, stating that it will work closely with police to enforce the policy.

“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,” the governing body stated.

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