Chelsea fans tell FA to 'update rule book' after supporters left 'unwelcome'

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Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest's LGBT+ supporters group has hit out at homophobic chanting (Image: Jon Hobley/ MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nottingham Forest's LGBT+ supporters' group have hit out at their own club's fans after homophobic chants could be heard at their draw with Chelsea, with Blues fans calling on the FA to update their rule book.

The LGBTQ+ Trickies have admitted they have been left feeling unwelcome after the 'Chelsea rent boy' chant was sung at the City Ground on Sunday. Last January, Mirror Football revealed that the chant had been classed as a homophobic hate crime by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Despite the strengthening of that stance from the authorities, the chant has continued to be aimed towards Chelsea fans and players. But it is not just those associated with the Blues who have been affected by the homophobic undercurrents of the chant.

Followers of rival teams have been left angered by their own club's supporters singing it, with the LGBTQ+ Trickies now taking aim at those Forest fans who decided to chant it on Sunday.

"We're tired of trying to explain to the uneducated why the chant is wrong on all levels, we're not tired of fighting for equality and inclusion," the group said in a statement released on social media.

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"We have a problem and an issue when our own fans think this type of chant is acceptable and it makes us question how welcome we actually are at our own club.

"We are grateful and appreciative of the work Nottingham Forest will put into this, hopefully, stewards and the wider safety team will be educated on it for the future too.

Chelsea fans tell FA to 'update rule book' after supporters left 'unwelcome'The homophobic chants could be heard during Forest's draw with Chelsea (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

"We more than appreciate the work Nottingham's football police officers do and how they support us also. But today has shown that if nothing else, some of the fans have helped call this behaviour out as unacceptable.

"Groups like ours, Chelsea Pride and Pride in Football work tirelessly to ensure inclusion for us all. We thank you for your support too."

Forest quickly pledged a full investigation would take place surrounding the alleged use of the chant. And the Premier League side insisted any discriminatory or offensive behaviour would not be tolerated.

"The Club are aware of reports concerning chants aimed at Chelsea supporters from a minority of fans this evening and do not condone any type of discriminatory or offensive behaviour. The matter will be fully investigated," a club statement read.

Chelsea Pride have also challenged the Football Association to bring their rules into line with the CPS by making the 'rent boy' chant punishable in the same way other discriminatory chanting is.

"Day 1 of 2023 and we start with challenging homophobic chanting within a game. Yesterday at the City Ground, a homophobic chant was sung by a portion of Forest fans," a statement from the group read.

"This chant is seen as being discriminatory by the CPS and has the potential of being prosecuted as a hate crime. But still it's being sung with the stands at football.

Chelsea fans tell FA to 'update rule book' after supporters left 'unwelcome'Chelsea Pride have called on the FA to update their rulebook to outlaw homophobic chanting

"We challenge the football authorities to change their stance and start to hold clubs and football fans more accountable for discriminatory language that's being used within stadiums towards to LGBTQ+ community.

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"If the CPS are now taking this seriously, then the FA needs to change its own rule books. Discrimination has no place in football. We have to educate and change this behaviour. It's not harmless banter.

"Just because it doesn't offend you, does not mean it's not offending others. Our friends, our allies want to see a change. We all do. We would also love to see football commentators call this behaviour out on TV.

"You are quick to apologise for bad language being heard, but why not challenge it? The chant sung yesterday was as clear as day on TV. Change will only happen if we all work together. Football should be a game for everyone, help us to create that change. Say no to hate."

Last year, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill KC, told Mirror Football that the CPS would be seeking harsher sentences for those who are found to have sung the chant, as part of a renewed move to tackle homophobia.

"Hate crime has no place within society let alone sport. Some may argue it is harmless banter but it means people who are being discriminated against feel less welcome to enjoy a match and support their team in person," Mr Hill KC said.

Chelsea fans tell FA to 'update rule book' after supporters left 'unwelcome'Max Hill KC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has slammed those using the chant (PA)

"Along with racist slurs we have reconfirmed that homophobic chants are unacceptable and could be subject to prosecution if there is sufficient evidence after a police investigation.

"As a mark of how seriously we take this offending, we will always ask for harsher sentences as it amounts to a hate crime. If you see, read or hear of any offensive racist and homophobic language, please report it to the police who will investigate.

"And if our legal tests are met we will seek to serve justice through the prosecution of these horrendous actions."

Jacob Leeks

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