Leicester City Fans Arrested For Homophobic Abuse Of Brighton & Hove Albion Fans
Fears that Brighton & Hove Albion fans would "suffer homophobic abuse" in the Premier League have been realized "after it emerged two rival supporters had been arrested and several others ejected from the club’s first away game of the season," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Two Leicester City fans were held on suspicion of "homophobic-related offences" following Leicester City's 2-0 win over Brighton at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, with Leicestershire Police confirming they were "reviewing evidence to see if others were involved." Leicester City also admitted a "number of home supporters had been ejected from the game by stewards," who the club said had undertaken "specialist training" this summer to identify such abuse. Brighton fans "found themselves a regular target of homophobic abuse" prior to the club's promotion to the Premier League, seemingly motivated by the city’s status as the U.K.’s unofficial "gay capital." One supporter said that Saturday's match was "like something out of the 1970s" (TELEGRAPH, 8/21). The BBC reported supporters of both clubs "condemned homophobic abuse." Brighton Supporters Club Vice Chair Liz Costa added that such chanting was "disgusting" and the club should be fined and anyone responsible banned from the stadium. Leicester City supporter group Foxes Pride Chair Graeme Smith said that abuse was "offensive" and "unacceptable." Costa said that about 50 Leicester City fans took part in the "disgusting" chanting throughout most of the match. She said, "The club needs fining, this has nothing to do with football" (BBC, 8/21). The PA reported Kick It Out Professional Players Engagement Manager Paul Mortimer said that education was "needed to prevent supporters using homophobic language." He said, "How much of a problem it is we’ll see as the season goes on but it’s definitely there and it’s something that football as a whole has to work together to quell. People need to recognize the impact that it has on fans. It’s about education more than anything -- making people aware of the impact that this has on their own fans (PA, 8/21).