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Will football’s homophobic chanting ever be fully given the boot?

Like any other matchday, thousands of football fans flock to a stadium to watch their favourite team in action. 

Following the Monday night Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Leeds United at Selhurt Park, there were reports of more homophobic chanting, which once again raises the question, will it ever end?  

The growing rates at which it is happening suggests it will not end anytime soon. 

This offensive chanting recently became noticed by the CPS as a hate crime however football fans still use the slur as a way of degrading their opposition. 

Chelsea Pride, an LGBTQ+ football fan group for the club, often raise attention to the homophobic abuse they are subject to at football matches.  

Following the Palace game on Monday, Chelsea Pride chair Tracy Brown said: “It is extremely disheartening every time we hear this chant knowing how it affects the LGBTQ+ football family.

“We are frustrated that fans have not listened to our calls for this chant to stop. 

“All forms of discrimination have no place in our game. It is time to call it out. We need our allies to help. We as fans can do better.”  

Marching out together are an LGBT+ fan group for Leeds United, much like Chelsea Pride. 

Following the chanting at the game last week, one of their members Roisin McCallion questioned why they should listen to abuse when they are just trying to enjoy football. 

“The majority of the time, I am proud to be a Leeds fan and part of such an incredible club. When fellow fans let us down, it is just disappointing.  

“Luckily, the central club and players have shown that they do not consider it acceptable and are allies. We can but hope these fans will follow suit one day and realise we are ALL Leeds aren’t we?” they continued.  

“Unfortunately, it has been a part of football for as long as I can remember. It is just starker now as we have come so far in other areas.  

“It brings you crashing down to earth as a reminder of how far there still is to go.” 

Homophobia is a problem in everyday society and although things are progressing, there are still people living in the stone age. 

Events like rainbow laces will continue to be important for as long as some people continue to hurl homophobic slurs at football games.  

Everyone should be free to live their true being, that includes at football games. 

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