A number of fans have been in contact with us in recent weeks to ask what to do if they experience homophobic abuse. We hope the following is useful.
If you are at a professional game then we advise that all incidents are reported immediately to the matchday stewards. They can then liaise with police officers on duty at the game who will then take action to identify those responsible and take action. This could be eviction of those responsible from the game or even an arrest, with subsequent charge.
If you do not report instances at the game then please do notify the club after the incident. While this there is very little chance of action being taken against the perpetrators it does mean that those in charge at the club are aware that such behaviour is going on.
If you are playing a game and experience homophobic abuse then we recommend that you challenge the individual on their actions. We appreciate that not everyone will feel comfortable doing this so it also worth contacting the clubs and the relevant league authorities after the game to inform them of the abuse.
The following website, report it, is also extremely valuable. This gives people the opportunity to report incidents, even those on social media websites, such as Twitter and Facebook. If you do not want to be named then this website allows you to remain anonymous.
We appreciate that some victims may also want support after the incidents. A comprehensive list of organisations and charities in the UK which offer advice and support is available here.
Homophobic abuse, whether on or off the football pitch, is a hate crime. It is only by reporting incidents that action can be taken and we can rid the beautiful game of its last taboo.