New research conducted by football campaigner Lindsay England has found homophobia to be rife in online football forums.
The 16-week study undertaken last year revealed 8,000 threads that contained homophobic slurs. 400 platforms for fans were analysed including message boards, blogs, websites and fan forums.
1,500 of the comments contained severe homophobic abuse and anti-gay hate language. Phrases in this category included ‘hang all faggots’, ‘all gays should die,’ ‘homosexuality is a disease or brain damage of some sort’ and ‘fucking scum of humanity stone them to death.’
Over 48% of the total homophobic comments were classed as ‘general/casual verbal abuse’ and of a ‘soft nature’ such as ‘I don’t want any gay trying to cop off with me when I play’, ‘what’s the problem with homophobia – it’s a bit of banter?’ and ‘I don’t think teasing or taunting people who are gay counts as being homophobic’.
Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), told the Pink Paper: “This report confirms the terrifying reality of homophobia and transphobia in our national sport, and the urgent need for education and action to tackle it at all levels. The TUC believes that the football authorities and the clubs must grasp the need to carry out the anti-discrimination policies they already have on paper. Prejudice can only be defeated if it is effectively challenged.”