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‘Racism and homophobia are not the same thing’ – Controversial French Football Federation President on curbing homophobic abuse

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The head of
French football said Tuesday that he had instructed referees to no longer stop
matches over homophobic abuse from fans, putting him on a collision course with
the sports ministry and the football league.

Speaking to
France Info, Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation (FFF),
said that stopping matches for anti-gay chants and banners in the stands was
“a mistake”, and that he hoped his decision would take effect from
this weekend’s games.

“I
would stop a match for racist chants. I would stop a match for fighting or if
there were a dangerous situation in the stands,” Le Graët said.

But racism and homophobia “are not the same thing”, he insisted, adding that it should be down to the clubs to stop those responsible from getting into stadiums.

Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), said that stopping matches for anti-gay chants and banners in the stands was “a mistake”

“The
clubs’ security services have to check the people who go to games, there is
security there to ensure that banners disappear quickly,” he said.

Le Graët has
already criticised the temporary stopping of matches in the French league over
homophobic abuse.

On Friday
he said “too many matches” had been halted due to new rules
introduced over the summer by the Professional Football League (LFP),
which runs France’s top Ligue 1 division, in a bid to stop the phenomenon.

He also
claimed that politicians were trying to exploit the problem in an effort to
look good “in front of television cameras”.

Discredit’ to football

Le Graët
drew the ire of sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who in April launched the
appeal for matches to be stopped in the event of homophobic abuse and on
Saturday called the FFF chief’s comments a “discredit” to football.

Several
matches have been temporarily halted in France this season thanks to LFP’s
guidance, drawing praise from French politicians and heavy criticism from
supporters.

Equalities
minister Marlène Schiappa publicly praised referee Clément Turpin after he stopped
Marseille’s 2-1 win at Nice for over 10 minutes last month following sustained
abusive chanting and banners from home fans.

Paris
Saint-Germain’s match at Metz two days later was also briefly halted for a
banner unfurled by the hosts’ supporters asking the French league (LFP) to
allow them to aim homophobic chants at PSG.

Since the
start of the French football season on August 9, there have been at least 20
cases of fans chanting homophobic slurs or showing anti-gay banners during
domestic games. By contrast, there were 111 incidents of homophobic abuse in
England over the course of the entire 2017-2018 season, according to Kick It
Out, a British pressure group for equality in the sport.

source: AFP

The post ‘Racism and homophobia are not the same thing’ – Controversial French Football Federation President on curbing homophobic abuse appeared first on maltawinds.com.

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