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UK: Channel 4 investigates homophobia and racism in football

Program recorded 20 homophobic incidents during three Brighton matches

Reporters for a British current-affairs program, Dispatches, went undercover to document the extent of homophobia, racism and other forms of hate in English football. Credit: soccerlens.com

A British current affairs TV program that went undercover to investigate the extent of homophobia and racism in English football recorded 20 incidents of homophobia during three Brighton home and away matches alone.  

Reporters for a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary, Undercover: Hate on the Terraces, set to air March 3, filmed football fans singing anti-gay chants within earshot of a police officer when their club played an away game at Brighton, GayUK reports. In another match played against Wigan on the latter’s home ground, reporters filmed more homophobic chants and comments, noting that children were also heard joining in.

“It’s a long way home, you faggots” and “Do you take it up the arse?” were among the chants the Channel 4 crew recorded.

Andy Holt, a senior officer overseeing the policing of football, is quoted in the documentary as saying that the under-reporting of abuse at games continues to be a major issue, despite a promise by police and Crown prosecutors, supported by the Football Association, to tackle the problem, as well as an announcement of guidelines to deal with football hooligans in England and Wales.

The Football Association’s director of governance and regulation, who was shown footage of fan behaviour, told Channel 4 that addressing the problem requires collective action by clubs, police, prosecution and the judiciary.