Sport’s homophobia problem requires zero-tolerance approach, say MPs

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Immediate and tough sanctions – including one- and two-year bans – should be imposed on football supporters who engage in homophobic abuse, a report by the parliamentary select committee for culture, media and sport has recommended.

Following a short inquiry held last year, the report cites a range of surveys and research demonstrating homophobia is a major problem in school, youth and professional sports and recommends a zero-tolerance approach combined with better training and education for staff at all levels.

“It is clear to us that the casual use of homophobic epithets and terms has a wide-ranging and damaging effect and we consider it disappointing that a significant percentage of people consider anti-LGB language to be harmless,” the report says. “It should be treated in the same way as other offensive language, whether racist, sexist or denigrating any other group.”

A 2015 study of attitudes internationally, Out on the Fields, reported 84% of participants having heard homophobic jokes within sport, and a 2015 survey by Stonewall found that 72% of football supporters had heard homophobic abuse in grounds.

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