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Campaign group condemn Rio's homophobic insults

CAMPAIGN ORGANISATION Just A Ball Game? (JBG?) have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and and football's governing body (FIFA) to condemn the homophobic insults directed at players at Rio Olympic Games football matches and address these issues as a priority to ensure the safety of everyone including LGBT players/coaching staff and those in the stands.

JBG? believe that the very public chanting of “bicha” in the stadiums witnessed by fans and journalists is unacceptable and urges all Football Authorities globally to take a stand against this type of behaviour.

Moving forward JBG? would like assurances from UEFA that players competing in the Women’s Euro 2017 finals in the Netherlands will be given the protection and support necessary should similar incidents occur.

JBG? would also like to see UEFA work in collaboration in the lead up to and during the tournament with organisations like ourselves and LGBT fan groups to educate stadium event day staff in dealing with homophobic discrimination promptly, alongside educating supporters on what is acceptable language and we call for official anti-discrimination event days to raise awareness of LGBT inclusion and visibility.

A spokesperson for JBG? said: "Too often it’s a given that homosexuality is fully accepted in all women’s sport and that athletes do not face any discrimination, however during the 2015 Women’s World Cup only 14 of 552 players felt comfortable to speak to the media on being out proud and kicking.”

“In England with the popularity of the FA WSL increasing rapidly how long will it be before we have to endure the homophobic chants of the type we have seen at Rio 2016? There is therefore a need for the FA and clubs to be pro-active and nip in the bud isolated incidents of this nature.”

Lisa Durel who writes for Women’s Soccer France said: “Making homophobia commonplace is disrespectful to players/ staff and also fans who identify as being LGBTQ. If we fight homophobia by banning it from the stands this creates the correct atmosphere for players and fans alike and people will gain in confidence in being themselves and women’s soccer will get what it deserves, full recognition and a safe environment to support, cheer and share the best of moments.”

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