The Football Offences Act 1991 To Be Amended To Include Homophobia

Publication Date24 July 2020
SubjectEmployment and HR, Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment, Discrimination, Disability & Sexual Harassment, Sport
Law FirmGiambrone & Partners
AuthorGiambrone Law ILP

The government has announced its intention to amend the Football Offences Act 1991 to make homophobia such as homophobic chants by the crowd an offence. The announcement comes three years after the former rugby international, Gareth Thomas, started campaigning either to trigger a new Bill relating to homophobia in football or to include homophobia in the Football Offences Act 1991 highlighting the issue in a documentary Gareth Thomas -v- Homophobia: Hate in the Beautiful Game. Giambrone's LGBT division Gay Lawyers had the privilege of assisting in the campaign by drafting a Code of Conduct for the guidance of football clubs that Gareth Thomas offered to the management of a football clubs in an attempt to eradicate unacceptable homophobic behaviour from their clubs. Gabriele Giambrone, group managing partner, was interviewed by Gareth Thomas in the documentary to outline the legal position. A private member's Bill started to make its way through Parliament aimed at amending the law to make it illegal to chant or otherwise deliver homophobic abuse at football matches, regrettably, other pressing matters such as Brexit intervened causing parliamentary time to run out before the Bill could be debated.

A report released by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) illustrated the extremely slow progress currently being made to rid the sport of homophobic behaviour, which considerably lags behind the progress made in eradicating racial discrimination. Football seems to have the reputation of being the least tolerant sport towards gay players and there is a conspicuous absence of professional footballers in any football division who have publicly announced that they are gay, with exception of Liam Davis of Cleethorpes Town...

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