Call for sanctions as homophobic chants again overshadow French soccer’s biggest game

Homophobic chanting by sections of Paris Saint-Germain fans targeting Marseille players has again marred the biggest game in French soccer, prompting calls for sanctions.

Olivier Klein, the inter-ministerial delegate for the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and anti-LGBTQ+ hatred (Dilcrah), posted a video on Monday of PSG supporters using insulting homophobic slurs aimed at their Marseille rivals.

PSG won the game at the Parc des Princes 4-0.

“Very shocked by the unbearable homophobic chants heard at the Parc des Princes,” Klein said on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter. He added that he will ask PSG and the French league authorities to bring in sanctions, and will look at the possibility of starting judicial action.

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In another video, some PSG players were filmed using insults directed at Marseille supporters while celebrating with youngsters at the end of the match.

French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera joined the criticism of the fans. She said the disciplinary committee of the French federation will look into the case and urged PSG to file a legal complaint in a bid to “identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, so that they can be removed from the stadiums.”

“It is unthinkable to remain deaf to such hateful and homophobic chants in our stands,” she said. “Regardless of the rivalry and the stakes involved, they must be fought relentlessly by fans, those involved in the competition, the authorities and the public authorities. Yesterday, these chants spoiled the party at the Parc. We need to eradicate it from our stadiums as a matter of urgency.”

French clubs have been sanctioned with fines, and the league’s disciplinary commission also ordered the closure of stands for similar cases in recent years. Also, French law provides for up to one year’s imprisonment and a 45,000 euros ($47,600) fine when anti-gay insults are made in public.

PSG said in a statement it condemns all forms of discrimination and “intends to further strengthen its preventive work in the fight against homophobia.” The French league champions added that a meeting with all its partners focusing on the topic will take place in the coming days.

Homophobic chants, often heard at French league matches, have been tolerated for a long time by many club officials, and soccer authorities have struggled to find appropriate ways of tackling the issue.

Following a match at the Parc des Princes four years ago between PSG and Marseille during which some home fans used homophobic insults, the French league launched an action plan allowing spectators to report sexist, homophobic or racist incidents they witness. The abuse has not stopped, though.

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