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Brighton and Hove Albion fans name and shame homophobic rivals
Albion supporters have “named and shamed” rival clubs in a bid to stamp out homophobia on match days.
A new report into incidents so far this season, reveals that Seagulls fans suffer anti-gay abuse against two-thirds of teams.
It comes as police confirmed that Blackburn's Colin Kazim-Richards may face criminal charges for alleged gestures made against Albion fans.
Officers have interviewed the former Brighton and Hove striker and a report has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.
Fans reported abuse from 72% of their rivals, including incidents at 70% of away games and 57% of home games so far this season.
“Fairly mild” chants such as “does your boyfriend know you are here” and “we can see you holding hands” were common at many grounds.
Others, which are too offensive to print, were reported at games against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Crystal Palace and Bristol City.
Liz Costa, vice chair of Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters' Club, said: “We have put up with this kind of abuse for many years, but not anymore.
“Some may call it banter but if this was racist then the authorities would be on it in a flash.
“It's time we stamped out this kind if abuse.” The first recorded incident of the season was on August 14 away to Swindon Town.
A number of homophobic chants were reported with the club later apologising for their fans.
Just four days later at Hull City's KC Stadium, a player was said to have rubbed his hands up and down his backside several times in front of Albion fans.
A Hull FC spokesman described the incident as a “misunderstanding” adding that the player's shorts fell down following a slide tackle and he pulled them up “a little too slowly”.
Homophobic chanting was also heard at away games against Burnley, Millwall, Leicester City, Huddersfield Town, Charlton Athletic, Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City, Bolton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest.
At the Amex away supporters from Leeds United, Bolton Wanderers, Watford, Millwall, Newcastle United, Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace were all reported hurling abuse at Albion fans.
Among the more serious allegations involve Burnley fans at the September 1 game.
The report states that they used so many derogatory words that BBC Sussex has to run off a microphone and apologise on air several times.
Following the home game against Millwall on December 18 last year, a father and son were targeted outside the Amex with away fans reportedly asking: “do you pass him around?”
On January 22 away against Blackburn Rovers two Albion fans are said to be have been attacked outside the ground although no action was taken.
Sarah Watts, secretary of the supporters' club, said: “We hope that this report will increase public awareness and help educate our fellow members of the football family of the issues faced, to address them and, ultimately the need to treat each other with basic respect.”
The FA is now sending a letter to each club team visiting the Amex warning them of the ongoing problem.
They also offer members of the supporters' club as a liaison person for the fixture.
BEST AND WORST
There have been reports of homophobic abuse at both the home and away fixtures against the following clubs:
- Bolton Wanderers
- Blackburn Rovers
- Hull City
- Crystal Palace
The following teams have played Albion home and away with no reports of homophobic abuse:
- Cardiff City
- Ipswich Town
- Derby County
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