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Dispatches Undercover: Hate on the Terraces

Channel 4's Dispatches shows police turning a blind eye to homophobia and racism

Supporters of Burnley football club are seen singing homophobic chants just metres away from a police officer in a new Channel 4 documentary. Twenty incidents of homophobia at Brighton and Hove Albion matches were catalogued, despite previous complaints by Brighton fans to the FA of homophobic abuse in more than half of their fixtures. Last year the police and Crown Prosecution Service, backed by the Football Association, promised to tackle “all forms of abuse in football”.

The Dispatches investigation into homophobia, on television tonight, also looked racism and anti-Semitic incidents inside stadiums prompted the most senior police officer in England responsible for football to say that there is a problem of under-reporting hate incidents at games.

Chris Basiurski, a leading campaigner against homophobia said: “Could you hear the kids voice singing it, very loud and very clear. Sounded about 6 or 7 years old. I was very worried about that. He’s going to grow up thinking yes it’s okay to laugh and sing about gay people.”

Chants that young children could be heard singing included:
“It’s a long way home, you faggots”

“Get bumming him boys…Gayboy”
“Do you take it up the arse?”

Last month 5 out of 20 Premier League clubs refused to join the campaign Football v Homophobia. Southampton, Hull, Swansea, Norwich and Cardiff did not sign up to show support the FA backed initiative.

Graham Le Saux was the target of homophobic abuse throughout his career, despite not being gay. In 1999 Robbie Fowler was seen bending over and pointing to his backside in front of Le Saux during a match between Liverpool and Chelsea. Le Saux later revealed that taunts almost forced him to quit the game.

Darren Bailey, FA Director of Governance and Regulation said: “Clearly footage that you have shown is of concern. We all have responsibility – clubs, supporters, players, law enforcement and the FA. We have to continue to squeeze out those number of incidents wherever we’re able to do so.”

Undercover: Hate on the Terraces airs tonight at 8pm on Channel 4.

Words: Aaron Golightly (@AaronGolightly_)

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