Albion fans' anti-homophobia campaign bears fruit

Posted On 12 Feb 2010 at 10:16 pm

A protest by Brighton and Hove Albion fans against homophobic abuse from rival fans has resulted in a hard-hitting video from the FA.

In 2006, a group of Seagulls approached the Football Association via the Football Supporters’ Association concerned at the anti-gay insults aimed at them and the team.

Now, the FA, working with anti-hate campaign Kick it Out, has released this video in a bid to combat such taunts – and has been supported by Sir Elton John and Albion manager Gus Poyet.

It features a man hurling homophobic abuse at people in the street, on the tube and at work, to the horror of onlookers – then cuts to him doing the same at a football match, asking why is this behaviour acceptable here?

Brighton and Hove Albion manager, Gus Poyet said: “There is no place for abusive behaviour of any kind in football and it is totally unacceptable. The game is there to be enjoyed by everyone, from all walks of life, regardless of age, race, background or sexual orientation.”

Sir Elton John said: “I fully support the initiative and hope people realise that homophobic abuse at matches should not be tolerated.”

However, the launch of the film has been marred by allegations that high-profile footballers allegedly refused to appear in the video.

And gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told the Guardian: “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.”

The film will be used as a training and education tool for matchday stewards in stadiums around the country.

FA chairman Lord Triesman said: “Both The FA and Kick It Out are committed to challenging all forms of discrimination in football and making the game family friendly and it’s our hope that everyone involved across all levels of the game will give the film’s anti homophobia message their full support.”

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