Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Far from lost in translation

Homophobic abuse in sport can be in all forms.

The most familiar type people are subjected to is verbal shouting of all sorts of horrible, misguided and bigoted statements.

It is with great regret when the Justin Campaign learnt that this sort of language was on display in one of the biggest French league games this weekend.

A banner in the stands of the Stade Velodrome in Marseille read: "Band of faggots. Be men."

The huge poster was spotted by a member of the Paris Gay Football Association during the match between Olympique de Marseille and Avignon Arles.

A statement from the group said: "It is now more than three years we've alerted club Marseille, on the need to tackle the problem from recurring homophobia of some supporters."

They added that there had been a history of homophobia abuse from fans of the French team when, after one incident in 2008, the club's director of communications at that time, Nathalie Paoli, said: "Marseille is not sufficiently exemplary to rebel against such comments."

The story was originally reported in the French media here.

Of course these comments may be a little skewed to an internet translation package.

But there is no doubting that this banner was not lost in translation.

Many questions from the incident. How did the banner get into the ground in the first place? Why did club officials so nothing to take it down? What impact did it have on other fans?

What is clear is that this shows how far football must travel if homophobia is to be pushed out of the game.

But as long as there are groups such as the Paris Gay Football Association then people will see what is right and what is wrong.

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