Three football fans were arrested on suspicion of shouting racist or homophobic abuse at the Brighton and Hove Albion match against Chelsea at the Amex Stadium in Falmer yesterday (Wednesday 1 January).
Albion said this morning: “Two home supporters and one visiting supporter were ejected from the Amex and subsequently arrested for three separate incidents of unacceptable abuse during yesterday’s match against Chelsea.
“Yet again it is with regret that we report the ejection of two home supporters – one for racist abuse of Chelsea players and one for homophobic abuse aimed at Chelsea supporters.
“One visiting supporter was also ejected by club stewards for homophobic abuse aimed at home supporters.
“All three were arrested by Sussex Police outside the stadium and now face prosecution.”
Sussex Police said: “A 21-year-old man from Brighton – a home fan – was arrested on suspicion of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress (homophobic abuse). He has been released on conditional bail until (Wednesday) 29 January.
“A 56-year-old man from Portslade – a home fan – was arrested on suspicion of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress (racist abuse). He has been released under investigation pending further inquiries.
“A 21-year-old man from East Preston – an away fan – was arrested on suspicion of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress (homophobic abuse). He has been released under investigation pending further inquiries.”
Albion chief executive Paul Barber said: “Yet again our safety and stewarding team, along with Sussex Police, have had to deal with three separate and unwanted instances of disgusting racist and homophobic abuse.
“If the prospect of a life ban from watching their clubs play football isn’t a strong enough deterrent, we have to ask the question as to whether the courts should be given the power to hand out more severe punishments?
“Football can only do so much and we are sick and tired of the game’s reputation being tarnished by these people.
“I find it impossible to comprehend how and why some individuals think it’s acceptable to behave in this way.
“And yet again I will make it very clear that neither Brighton and Hove Albion nor the wider football community will tolerate racism, homophobia or any other form of discrimination at any time.
“We would urge any fans confronted with similar discriminatory behaviour at our stadium to report it immediately, either directly to a steward or via our anonymous hotline, and we will continue to take the strongest possible action against such bigoted individuals.
“These people are not welcome at the Amex or at any football matches.”