Paul MacInnes on 2 December 2019
The FA has been made aware of numerous allegations of homophobic chanting by West Ham fans during Saturday’s match at Chelsea.
The claims, which were collated by Kick it Out and corroborated by Chelsea and West Ham LGBTQ groups, come in the midst of the annual Rainbow Laces campaign, football’s attempt to confront homophobia in the game.
According to witnesses, West Ham fans at Stamford Bridge sang a notorious chant that described Chelsea fans as “rent boys”.
In a statement, Kick it Out said. “We have received numerous reports of homophobic chanting directed at Chelsea fans during their match against West Ham. We have informed the FA and reiterate our message: the Rent Boy chant is homophobic and must be treated as such.”
The FA confirmed it had received the complaints. “The FA is aware of the reported chanting”, said a spokesperson. “The FA is in regular, ongoing discussions with the police, Kick It Out and other relevant stakeholders in relation to the chant in question.”
In response to the accusations, West Ham made no specific reference to the allegations but said: “West Ham in no way condones any behaviour that falls short of the highest standards which the club sets when it comes to equality.
“At London Stadium against Arsenal on Monday night [9 December] we will be celebrating and demonstrating the great work the club does to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for ALL supporters, including our LGBT+ fanbase, as part of our ongoing and unwavering support for the Rainbow Laces campaign.”
According to research by Stonewall as part of the Rainbow Laces campaign, as many as four out of 10 LGBT people do not find sport a welcoming environment. Kick it Out also reported a 10% rise in the number of complaints regarding abuse relating to sexual orientation in the 2018-19 season.