FA delays anti-homophobia film

The FA yesterday defended its decision to delay the launch of a film aimed at tackling homophobia in football. The governing body came under fire from gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell for postponing the launch of the video, part of a campaign to stop supporters' homophobic chants and insults.

The film is understood to be graphic in its depiction of homophobic abuse. The FA said that it was delaying the release of the film to give itself extra time to draw up a more-detailed strategy for its anti-homophobia campaign. A spokesman said the game's governing body was still "committed to its stated aims of tackling homophobia in football." He added: "After consultation with our Tackling Homophobia Working Group we have now produced a viral film which will form part of our overall strategy. We will now enter a final stage of consultation and will shortly be in a position to announce the next stage of the strategy, including the launch of the educational film."

Tatchell said: "It has thrown the Football Association's commitment to tackling homophobia into disarray. The video agreed by the FA and Kick It Out [anti-racism campaigners] features strong homophobic language. The main character, a youngish man, abuses a newspaper seller, tube train passenger and an office worker with anti-gay taunts. The video finishes with him shouting homophobic abuse at a football match. The captions make the point that since homophobia is not acceptable at work, it should not be acceptable on the terraces either.

"I wanted an MTV-style video, with an appealing, uplifting, positive message, featuring top players and a good music track. Sadly, the FA never seriously attempted to get top players to participate."

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