The British gay rights foundation Stonewall has released research which suggests that little has been done to curb widespread homophobia in football.
Over half of the 2000 football fans surveyed believe that the Football Association, Premier League and Football League are not doing enough to tackle anti-gay abuse.
The research also noted that three in five fans believe that anti-gay abuse from fans dissuades gay players from coming out, almost two thirds of fans believe football would be a better sport if anti-gay abuse was eradicated and two thirds of fans would feel comfortable if a player on their team came out.
“Sadly, this survey demonstrates that football is institutionally homophobic,” said Ben Summerskill, Stonewall’s Chief Executive, in a statement. “Too little action has been taken about an issue which deters not just gay players and fans from enjoying our national game, but also thousands of other fans too.
“Football has a firm track record tackling problems such as hooliganism and racism. But anti-gay abuse still almost always goes unchallenged. When England is looking to host and win the 2018 World Cup, football cannot risk this loss of potential talent and supporters.”
The report’s recommendations include ensuring that sanctions used against fans that perpetuate anti-gay abuse and violence are consistent with those for racist abuse.
“This pioneering research clearly shows that the FA, football clubs and their partners have a mandate from fans to challenge anti-gay abuse. It’s by no means impossible to challenge this problem. We await some clear leadership from the FA on the issue,’ said Sam Dick, Stonewall Policy Officer.