Leicester condemn homophobic chanting at Brighton match

Leicestershire Police confirmed that two fans were arrested for homophobic chants

Some Leicester fans were arrested for homophobic chanting. Photograph: Getty Images

Some Leicester fans were arrested for homophobic chanting. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Leicester have condemned the homophobic chanting that took place against Brighton after confirming some of the club’s supporters were removed from the stadium during Saturday’s match.

According to eyewitnesses, the abuse began in the closing stages of the game the hosts won 2-0. Following the match, fans of both clubs took to social media to voice their concerns.

Leicestershire Police confirmed that two Leicester fans were arrested for homophobic chants.

Leicester have said they are “disappointed” by the actions of a “minority” of fans but praised the club’s stewards for swiftly removing the offenders from the King Power Stadium and reporting them to the police.

A spokesman for the club said: “We are committed to creating a passionate, inclusive, welcoming environment at King Power Stadium, in which everyone is free to enjoy the matchday experience.

“As part of our on-going efforts to educate our staff, senior King Power Stadium stewards undertook specialist training during the summer in effectively identifying offensive behaviour, including contributions from Leicester’s LGBT Centre on recognising homophobic abuse.

“While disappointed that such abuse took place during Saturday’s match, we are satisfied that our stewards reacted swiftly and appropriately, which led to the responsible minority being ejected from the stadium and reported to the police.”

Foxes fan Chris Whiting told BBC Radio Leicester that events on Saturday made him feel “unsafe” and “unwelcome” at his club’s own stadium.

“In the last 20 or so minutes the chanting started towards the Brighton fans and then after that it got a bit more nasty with a few isolated shouts, which were a bit more malicious,” said Whiting.

“It made me very shaken, I felt a bit unsafe and very unwelcome in a place I’ve been going to since I was eight years old.”

A Brighton fan, who did not wish to be named, told the Leicester Mercury that the level of vicious homophobic abuse was a like a throwback to what football was like in England in the 1970s.

“We’ve encountered abuse over the years, but it’s all but gone from the game,” the away fan said.

“However, a group of around 20 to 30 Leicester City fans close to Brighton supporters suddenly started chanting vicious homophobic abuse and making homophobic gestures.

“It was like something out of the 1970s, and this sort of bigoted, small minded behaviour needs to be stopped and those involved ejected from the ground.”

Kick It Out’s professional players engagement manager Paul Mortimer said education was needed to prevent supporters using homophobic language.

Mortimer told BBC Radio Leicester: “How much of a problem it is we’ll see as the season goes on but it’s definitely there and it’s something that football as a whole has to work together to quell.

“People need to recognise the impact that it has on fans.

“It’s about education more than anything — making people aware of the impact that this has on their own fans.

“I would bang the drum of education more than anything else, because within football clubs there are LGBT communities and imagine what they will be feeling when a section of fans are saying this horrible language in their presence.

“It’s unacceptable and I’m sure if it carries on there will be sanctions.”

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