Chelsea, Manchester United condemn homophobic chants during Saturday’s match

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Chelsea, Manchester United and the Football Association (FA) have all condemned the homophobic chanting heard during Saturday’s Premier League match.

The chants were said to have emanated from the away end at Stamford Bridge on the same week as English football promoted LGBTQI+ inclusion by celebrating Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

In a statement, Chelsea said: “Chelsea Football Club finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour totally unacceptable and we condemn the language used by some individuals today at Stamford Bridge.

“We are proud to be supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign and today acts as proof that we must do more to make football a game for everyone.

“This year we are educating, celebrating, communicating, and motivating allyship and action for our players, employees, fans and society.”

Graham Potter, the manager of Chelsea, said that the chants showed that football “still has a lot of work to do” to get rid of discrimination. Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, agreed with Potter and said that the chants “do not belong in the stands.” He also criticized Chelsea fans for making fun of an injured Raphael Varane as he left the field in tears in the first half.

A United statement read: “Homophobia, like all forms of discrimination, has no place in football. Manchester United is proud of our diverse fan base and the work we have done to reduce instances like we sadly heard at Stamford Bridge.

“We will continue to campaign for inclusivity and to tackle discriminatory abuse whether inside stadiums or online. This includes working with fan groups to educate fans on the offence which discriminatory language causes.”

The FA also condemned the homophobic chanting and reiterated their unwavering commitment to completely eradicating such discrimination from football with the help of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“The FA strongly condemns the use of the term “rent boy” and we are determined to drive it out of our game,” said an FA spokesperson.

“We continue to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as the UK Football Policing Unit, in relation to the use of this term.

“Part of our work in this area has been to provide the relevant authorities with impact statements from LGBTQ+ supporters, detailing how chants of this nature affects their experience and feeling of inclusion at football matches so that a clearer stance and understanding on the chant can be established.

“We stand firmly against all forms of discrimination and we are striving to ensure our game is a safe environment for all, which truly embraces diversity and challenges hateful conduct both on and off the pitch.

“We believe football is everybody’s game, and we will continue to do our utmost to use our influence to drive meaningful change so that our game is for all.”