Football Managers Silent On Homophobia
All refuse to answer BBC Radio Five Live questionnaire.
London - 11 November 2005
A week after the Football Association said it wanted to challenge homophobic attitudes in the game, all 20 Premier League managers have refused to answer questions on the subject from BBC's Radio Five Live.
According to Five Live:
"All 20 managers were sent a letter asking why are there no openly gay professional players and whether this was something football needed to address. All of them chose not to respond. Some said they didn't want to get involved in it, or didn't feel comfortable answering the questions. Others said they don't respond to surveys. But Martin Perry, the chief executive of Brighton FC whose players and fans are often the subject of homophobic abuse from visiting supporters, because of the town's large gay community, has told the BBC there's a degree of denial about this issue in football."
"The Football Association and individual clubs have made great efforts to tackle racism on the pitch and in the terraces," said Peter Tatchell of gay human rights group OutRage!
"But they have done little to kick out homophobia. It is time anti-gay attitudes were given the red card.
"The attitude of the managers is proof there is a problem. Their refusal to even discuss the issue shows a worrying indifference to anti-gay prejudice.
"The Football Association should be giving a stronger lead. It makes the right noises, but does little. The FA's paper policies and conferences are a waste of time. Where's the action against homophobia?
"We need tough new rules to impose big fines and match suspensions on players and managers who use anti-gay insults. Stewards should be ordered to identify fans who shout homophobic abuse and the FA should secure the agreement of the police to arrest and charge them.
"Education against homophobia is vital. The FA needs to get the agreement of all clubs to feature anti-homophobia messages in their match programmes, on tickets and on billboards inside and outside football grounds.
"A joint statement and video against homophobia by ten top footballers would do a lot to help challenge bigoted attitudes. Why isn't the FA organising this?", queried Mr Tatchell.
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