“Let’s break up”: as League 1 has decided to fight homophobia in the stadiums

The organizers of the French football League has entered a new season under the banner of enhanced abusive behavior in the stadiums.

Wednesday, August 28, the evening took place the match of the 3rd round of the League 1: playing “nice” and “Olympique Marseille”. The meeting stopped due to homophobic chants and banners with discriminatory slogans on the podium fans of “nice”. On the 22nd minute of the game the stadium announcer warned that, if not stopped insulting cries, the match will stop. At 25 minutes that is what happened. Earlier, on 24 and 25 August, the matches of the “Brest” — “Reims” and “Monaco” — “Him” was also put on pause. Even earlier, on 16 August, was interrupted by the match Nancy — “Le Mans”, for the same reasons.

Talking about discrimination in French football stadiums has become particularly relevant since March of this year. Then the Minister of sports of France Roxane Maracineanu called for the match “Paris-Saint-Germain” — “Olympique Marseille”, and then in an interview said that she was impressed with the most. According to her, the fans, instead of supporting your club, shouting shit to the opponent. The head of the League 1 Natalie Fight-de La Tour, in response, promised to investigate, but referred to the “historical folklore” characteristic of the fan environment. The head of French football Federation Noel Le Graet in an interview with Le Figaro also condemned the fans, but also a little joke on the Minister: “She’s not used to visit the stadiums, in swimming pools-it is not unheard of that people are talking about”. Thus he hinted at a sporting past Maracineanu, which was a professional swimmer.

This discussion followed the publication of French League programme for the fight against homophobia in stadiums. It provides strict sanctions procedure: first, the raging fans if the stadium announcer. If a comment has no effect, the game is temporarily interrupted. If this fails to encourage fans to order the match stops.

New — more stringent — policy Directorate of the League 1 angered many football fans. A spokesman for the National Association of fans James ROF, for example, condemned the sanctions and interrupt matches.

The representative of the network FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) that fights against racism and xenophobia in European football, Pavel Klimenko believes that in the current situation, it is important that the parties managed each other to hear: “let me start by saying that the debate about homophobia in French football as would take the form of a vicious circle in which the parties — the government, the French League and the fans to each other in General not listening. Usually to any discriminatory behaviour in football and in society, sanctions should be applied, and the culprit must be brought to justice. But it seems to me that the current controversy has reached a stage where the parties to each other are not listening. And there is a risk to go far from the root of the problem in General is traditional, I’d say the confrontation between the fans and any organization, whether it be government, the League or the sports Ministry”.

Some of the players stress that the stop or stop match — not a method of fight against homophobia and xenophobia in football. “You can’t stop the match every time in the stands there might be some weirdos. If you do so, we will never play,” said Central midfielder “nice” villan Cyprien in an interview for the radio station France Bleu. The athlete noted that categorically condemns any form of discrimination, but, in his words, “since the beginning of time fans sometimes insult each other, it’s part of the game.”

“The players can understand — they play and thus perform their work. And usually if they are not included in any discrimination, any external disputes may seem, they are not worthy of attention. This question is to ask the minorities who don’t feel comfortable in the stadiums. That they need to ask about whether or not to impose sanctions or interrupt the game in case they come to the stadiums and hear homophobic insults at opponents,” — explains Pavel Klimenko.

The head of the French League Natalie Fight de La Tour in one of the interviews said that we should not forget the enormous social impact of football. “What was normal a few years ago, it no longer is. We need to take into account the new rules of the game,” she said, alluding to some of the chants and slogans of the fan folklore. According to Fight de La Tour, “the thing is not to feel or not to feel support and to know how to fight for the football of tomorrow.” Not the last place in this struggle, obviously, is more severe sanctions against people who can afford the extra, especially since this practice has already been introduced at UEFA level.

“Since 2013, UEFA has imposed severe sanctions. They were introduced on the Champions League, European League. And we can state that the number of such cases is declining, the ultra-right group of fans of the teams from Eastern and Central Europe, as well as from the West, become less active during international competitions. Home of the national championship are lagging behind with the introduction of similar measures,” says Paul Klymenko.

Recall from the beginning of this season to various forms of sanctions from the administration of the League 1 was subjected to 18 teams.
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