Brighton fans call for action after releasing details of alleged homophobic abuse

Supporters' group claims fans have been abused by at least 72 per cent of opponents they have faced this season

Supporters of Championship promotion hopefuls Brighton have called on footballing authorities to take tougher action on homophobic chanting.

Fans of the club have historically been the target of disparaging remarks and slurs that refer to the city's gay population, and now the Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters' Association are attempting to raise awareness in hope of putting an end to this sustained abuse.

In union with the Gay Football Supporters' Network, the BHASC have produced a detailed report on the matter, which they have submitted to footballing groups, relevant government departments and the FA.

The report offers several examples of the alleged chants Seagulls fans have been subjected to on a regular basis throughout the 2012/13 season so far, as well as documenting obscene gestures made by opposition players and threats aimed at supporters. The full list of alleged abuse can be found below.

The document also features several damning statistics, including claims that Brighton fans have been victims of homophobic abuse by at least 72 per cent of opponents they have faced this season, in at least 70 per cent of away games and in 57 per cent of their total matches this season.

"Brighton fans have been the subject of "banter" about the city's gay community for as long as many of our fans can remember," said BHASC secretary Sarah Watts.

"It wouldn't be described as "banter" if the taunts and chants were about skin colour and something would have been done by now to stop it. Brighton & Hove Albion Supporters' Club has spent over 15 years trying to get the authorities to take this regular abuse of one club's fans seriously.

"We hope that this report will increase public awareness and help educate our fellow members of the football family of the issues faced, to address them and, ultimately, the need to treat each other with basic respect."

The controversial issue of homophobia in football was brought to the forefront of the game's consciousness again in February, as former Leeds and Stevenage midfielder Robbie Rogers came out as gay and subsequently retired from the sport.

 

Summary of alleged homophobic abuse during the current season...

Date
Fixture
Examples of alleged chants reported
GFSN comments
 August 14, 2012
Swindon Town (A)
'Town full of f*gg*ts.'
Other abuse heard too.
Letter sent from BHASC to Swindon Town FC.
Response received from club who said that they would be vigilante and apologised.
August 18, 2012
Hull City (A)
'We can see you holding hands' and others.

Player rubs his hands up and down several times over his backside whilst standing in front of, but with his back to, Brighton fans.
Spoke to senior steward after match.
Letter sent to club.
Club’s stewards take action during game.
Hull City FC defended its player saying he had done nothing wrong.
August 21, 2012
Cardiff City (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
August 25, 2012
Barnsley (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
September 1, 2012
Burnley (A)

Home fans used many derogatory words. So bad that BBC Sussex radio had to turn off a microphone and apologise several times on air for the language being used around them.

No action was taken.
September 14, 2012
Sheffield Wednesday (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
September 18, 2012
Watford (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
September 22, 2012
Millwall (A)
Multiple, persistent chants heard.
No action was taken this season.
BHASC corresponded with Millwall in 2011 & 2012 season and have trusted them to work away at the problem.
September 29, 2012
Birmingham (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
October 2, 2012
Ipswich Town (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
October 6, 2012
Derby County (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
October 20,  2012
Middlesbrough (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
October 23, 2012
Leicester City (A)
A variety of chants including 'We can see you holding hands'.
BHASC has reported to Leicester City FC in the past who didn’t accept that it was anything but 'banter'. With this mind set BHASC didn’t see that we could achieve anything else at this time.
October 27, 2012
Blackpool (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
November 2, 2012
Leeds United (H)
Several different chants
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments.
November 6, 2012
Peterborough (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
November 17, 2012
Huddersfield Town (A)
'We can see you holding hands'
'You're just a town full of f*gg*ts'
Spoke to police at game and letter sent to club.
Club responded apologising and explaining actions of stewards in preventing abuse spreading
November 24, 2012
Bolton Wanderers (H)
'We can see you holding hands'
'You’re just a town full of b*****s'
'We always sh*g girls'

Email sent to Bolton who responded.
November 27, 2012
Bristol City (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
December 1, 2012
Crystal Palace (A)
'Palace 5, Brighton 0, Brighton take it up the b*m'

'We can see you holding hands.'
Complaint to stewards and letter sent to club.

No action taken at the time by the stewards, but Senior Steward reprimanded by CPFC for failing to take action.
December 8, 2012
Charlton Athletic (A)
'We can see you holding hands.'
Chants were sporadic and did not spread possibly due to actions of stewards.
16 December 2012
Nottingham Forest (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
December 18, 2012
Millwall (H)
Several individual incidents reported after the game. A father and son pair of Brighton fans were walking away from the ground and the father was asked 'Do you pass him round?'
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments.
December 29, 2012
Watford (H)
Sporadic chanting reported
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments.
January 1, 2013
Ipswich Town (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
January 5, 2013
Newcastle United (H)
Sporadic homophobic chanting reported
Stewards took action to prevent chants being spread.
January 12, 2013
Derby County (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
January 19, 2013
Birmingham City (A)
'Does your boyfriend know you're here?'
'Go home you qayers'
'Up your a*** m’lord, up your a***'

Incidents were reported to Birmingham City FC.
January 22, 2013
Blackburn Rovers (A)
'Soft Southern poofters'
Two fans attacked outside the ground.
n/a
January 26, 2013
Arsenal (H)
'Does your boyfriend know you're here?'
'We can see you holding hands'
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments
February 2, 2013
Sheffield Wednesday (A)
'We can see you holding hands'
'Does your boyfriend know you're here?'
'Town full of f*gg*ts'
'Up your a***, up your a***, if you’re not a f****** w***** you’re a gayer'
Complaint made to stewards. BHASC understands that stewards may have taken action to prevent the chants spreading.
February 9, 2013
Hull City (H)
Local paper reported that three Hull fans were arrested for homophobic comments made after the match.

Two of those arrested were cautioned.
February 12, 2013
Blackburn Rovers (H)
Homophobic gestures from Blackburn player, alleged to be Colin Kazim-Richards
Investigations by the Sussex County Police and The FA.
February 19, 2013
Cardiff City (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
February 23, 2013
Burnley (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
March 2, 2013
Huddersfield Town (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
March 5, 2013
Bristol City (A)
'We can see you holding hands'
'You’re just a town full of f*gg*ts'
'What’s it like to suck a c***'
'We drink cider, you suck c***'
'The referee’s a gay boy'
'Gay and you know you are'
Incidents not reported.
March 9, 2013
Bolton Wanderers (A)
'We can see you holding hands'
'Do you take it up the a***?'
'Gay and you know you are'
This was reported to previous contact at Bolton by email.  A response has not been forthcoming to date.
March 12, 2013
Barnsley (A)
Nothing audible
Barnsley demonstrated to BHASC procedures of stewards and how they deal with any instances of reported abuse.
March 17, 2013
Crystal Palace (H)
'You’re queer and you know you are'
'We can see you holding hands'
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments.
March 30, 2013
Nottingham Forest (A)
'Does your boyfriend know you’re here?'
'You only sing when you’re b***ing'
'Have you ever sh*gg*d a girl?'
'We can see you holding hands'
And shouts of ‘f*gg*ts’, ‘gay’ and ‘n*nce’ with limp-wristed gestures
Brighton supporters reported incidents to the police and stewards.  The stadium safety officer assured GFSN before the game that a zero-tolerance policy was in place and the stewards would take any appropriate action necessary.



 

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