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Homophobia in football

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Post by stillmanjunior Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:27 am

We had an issue in our game yesterday where I first came across homophobia in football in a game I was involved in.

The referee awarded a free-kick to the opposition. One of our players thought they’d taken it quickly, so intercepted it and rolled the ball into the empty net. The referee disallowed it, fair enough, and a few opposition players reacted with “what are you doing?” etc. Harmless. Until one of them piped up with “what do you think you’re doing you f**king homo?”

This is a player who has a reputation already for being a nasty piece of work, in terms of over-the-top tackling (he’d studded our goalkeeper in the stomach minutes earlier, trying to intercept a ball he was never going to win) and abusing opponents verbally. The player on the receiving end of the comment didn’t think anything of it, he isn’t gay, not that that’s relevant. Our goalkeeper was outraged by the comment and furiously showed this, shouting at the referee that he had to take action, in fact asking him to stop the game at one point which was met by groans by both sets of players. The opposition genuinely had no idea that they’d overstepped the mark, their main comments back were “he must be one (gay) as well”. He isn’t, but has homosexual mates who have been bullied before because of their choice of lifestyle. A few others on our side backed him up, but infuriatingly others passed it on as ‘banter’, referring to the recent Malky Mackay scandal. My argument was that we’ll sort it after the game as the referee wasn’t taking action (I’m not blaming him, he was in a very difficult position), our goalkeeper went straight to Twitter and has had a letter retweeted several times, which has been forwarded to the Somerset FA amongst others. Some of the responses on Twitter have been positive, plus the occasional troll saying he’s over-reacting (in not quite as polite terms).

What is everyone’s view on this? In my opinion the FA will not do a thing, this player should already be banned from football but he isn’t, so why will anything happen here? Players from both sides claimed it’s no different to other insults you hear in the heat of the moment. I thought it was a lot worse than that. It all kicked off after the game as well, one of their players was sent off for slapping one of ours. Charming lot, the rematch will be the Battle of Timsbury…
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Post by Beau Nash Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:27 am

Unacceptable.

The referee should have taken some action.

http://www.thefa.com/news/governance/equality/2014/sep/rainbow-laces-anti-homophobia

Sending Off Offences - http://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/laws/football-11-11/law-12---fouls-and-misconduct - using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.
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Post by comrade powell Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:10 pm

If the Somerset FA take no action, those of you quite rightly upset by this incident need to broadcast that fact. Not on social media, but through official channels. The obvious agency to go is the central FA, but good luck with that. It took me a lot of research to find a contact email on their site (there isn't one) and when I eventually spoke to someone on the phone it was typically officious and little help. (I was enquiring about the ban on betting and how it affects match day volunteers)

Nash's comment that it's down to the ref is correct, but why should he risk possible physical retribution? Why doesn't your club make a stand and refuse to play against any team including this Neanderthal?
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Post by stillmanjunior Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:57 pm

We've heard back from the Somerset FA that they are keen to charge their team (maybe player) in question.

The sad thing about Sunday was although a couple of us playing (I'd already been substituted) were appalled by what had been said, a few of our players passed it off as a nothing incident and we were making too much of it. I don't want to play against that player again, I also had his primate of a father (I assume it was anyway) bellowing instructions to "chip it over the midget of the full-back, he's their weak link". Pathetic lot.
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Post by comrade powell Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:07 pm

Pleased to hear that the Somerset FA will take action. Points deducted and banning management is the only way to deal with it effectively. Peer pressure will then be applied to primate and son...
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Post by Marc Monitor Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:46 pm

Yes, the ref has to take action. It is unfortunate as, as you say, he would have suffered verbal or possibly physical abuse. Somerset definitely have to take action. It is as simple as that. As far as your players are concerned, as long as they aren't openly homophobic, I suppose you have to just accept that they don't see it as bad. It is though. It is as bad as racist or sexist abuse.

The problem is that a lot of this comes from junior football. I have seen enough o your opponent's primate father who not only shout this sort of rubbish but get away with it, indeed see it condoned and reflected in the junior clubs.
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Post by stillmanjunior Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:33 pm

We've had the referee a number of times (in fact he was one of our players' uncles) and I felt a bit sorry for him as he was in a difficult position. He isn't the type that is intimidated easily, he controlled the game very well, but this situation was obviously alien to him.

The problem at the time was our players probably saw it as just a bit of verbal, so why make a big deal? That wasn't the point, what he said was wrong and clearly they don't see that going by the comments throughout the rest of the game.
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Post by Ashley Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:42 pm

A well timed advert during the England game! Keep us posted Mark on how this is resolved

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Post by stillmanjunior Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:52 pm

We've been asked to sign our emailed statements and someone believes the culprit is going to receive a ban, but no idea how long for. A couple of our players are going to be buying rainbow laces as well.
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Post by Marc Monitor Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:02 pm

stillmanjunior wrote:We've had the referee a number of times (in fact he was one of our players' uncles) and I felt a bit sorry for him as he was in a difficult position. He isn't the type that is intimidated easily, he controlled the game very well, but this situation was obviously alien to him.

I wasn't having a go at the ref, by the way. I have reffed enough games to know that it is a very difficult role (hence me trying not to have a go at them during games, mostly unsuccessfully). I don't think that the FA helps refs enough in these situations and clubs just tend to pay lip service to it. It would be interesting to see how your complaints are treated and well done to you for taking it further.
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Post by stillmanjunior Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:11 pm

I agree with your comments re the referee and don't worry, I didn't think you were having a go. He's reffed a number of tough games in the past, in fact I think he packed it all in for a bit last season because the dissent was becoming ridiculous. Thankfully he's reffing again as he is well respected by the players, he's one of those who compliments good play as well which is quite refreshing. Think he played at a decent level himself until injury kicked in.
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Post by stillmanjunior Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:31 am

We finally had the hearing last Friday in Glastonbury.

The opposition charged our goalkeeper with abusive language in response to him pressing charges against two of theirs for the homophobic abuse.

The main culprit pleaded guilty and didn't need to attend the hearing. He was given a five match ban and pretty hefty fine.
The other player received no punishment because when pressed at the hearing I said although I definitely heard comments from other players, I couldn't pinpoint that it was him. Our other witness was unable to attend as he injured his hand a week before so was unable to drive there, and he lives far out of the way for anyone to pick him up in time.
Our goalkeeper was fined £10 and warned about his future conduct.

I found the hearing quite intimidating, at one point I almost forgot that I was the witness and not the accused! Without our other witness to back up the claims we had no chance in finding the other player guilty (my guess is he lied but as the incident took place over two months ago there was no way I could remember which exact person it was) but at least the main person didn't get away with something like a one match ban.

The other highlight of the night was being sat in a waiting room before I was called in, spotting that the Somerset FA calendar had used one of my photos for the month of November.
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