SFA crack down on ‘football banter’ to get rid of homophobia and encourage more gay players to come out – The Scottish Sun
THE Scottish FA are set to come down hard on ‘football banter’ in an attempt to get rid of homophobia in the sport.
Scottish football’s governing body is hoping that the move will encourage more gay players to come out as a result.
The SFA will increase their efforts to crack down on supporters, coaches and players who use such discriminatory slurs.
According to The Times, stadium announcements, pitch-side boards and programme advertisements will warn fans that anti-gay language is a hate crime and therefore illegal.
The association have also come together with plans to support any players who chose to come out about their sexuality.
The only openly gay male footballer to have played in Scotland’s professional leagues remains Justin Fashanu.
He played for Hearts and Airdrieonians in the Nineties but tragically took his life in 1998.
Scotland women’s internationals Nicola Docherty and Shannon Lynn have opened up about their sexualities.
The SFA’s Football v Homophobia campaign recognises that such discrimination still exists in Scotland on matchdays across the country.
They said: “Although considerable progress has been made in wider Scottish society, many people view football as a space in which it is still fair game to use homophobic terms such as ‘poof’, ‘faggot’ or ‘you’re playing like a girl’.
“Some people use this language as ‘banter’ without thinking that what they are saying has an impact on those around them, is homophobic and may, in fact, be illegal.
“For these people, practising homophobia will remain a part of their football routine until they are told otherwise.
“Football is an emotional game but culprits should know when they are stepping out of line and should be educated on the impact of their words and actions.”
Further evidence on the matter, carried out by Stonewall, an LGBT rights charity, found that 82 percent of supporters in Scotland had heard anti-gay language at matches.
Their report says: “A strong response to incidents of homophobia plays a huge role in eradicating its ugliness from the beautiful game and shows your organisations stands on the side of inclusion.
“Such statements force people to access their own language and behaviour, rather than waiting until the damage is done. For many LGBT people, football has been a negative experience and there are wounds to be healed.”
David McArdle, the Scottish FA’s diversity and inclusion manager, said: “Our message is ‘You say these words, but do you actually know what they do to people?’”
FIFA last year urged the SFA to introduce stricter punishments for racist, sectarian or discriminatory abuse.
One example included abandoning games.