The French government pledged on Monday to punish football fans who allegedly chanted homophobic insults during a Ligue 1 match at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
During Sunday’s match between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, groups of supporters chanted phrases such as “Marseille are fags” and “we’re going to hang them by the balls, but unfortunately they don’t have any.”
The chants – which did not appear aimed at individual players or fans – lasted nearly 15 minutes, according to a journalist with the French news agency AFP.
“It is impossible to remain deaf to such hateful and homophobic chants in our stands,” Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera said on X, formerly called Twitter.
It is unthinkable to remain deaf to such hateful and homophobic chants in our stands. Regardless of the rivalry and the stakes, they must be fought relentlessly by the supporters, the players in the competition, the authorities and the public authorities. Yesterday, these chants… https://t.co/31fLOvlz4C
— Amélie Oudéa-Castéra (@AOC1978) September 25, 2023
She said the chants had “spoiled the party” at the Parc des Princes, home of PSG who beat Marseille 4-0 on the evening.
“I made sure that a firm response would follow,” the minister said, adding that she had urged PSG to take legal action against the chanting fans with a view to excluding them from future matches.
“We urgently need to eradicate such chants from our stadiums,” she said.
Olivier Klein, a senior French government official responsible for the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and hatred towards LGBT people, said he was “shocked” by his comments about “unbearable homophobic chants” during Sunday’s match.
Klein, whose department is attached to the office of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, indicated that he invited the French Professional Football League (LFP) as well as PSG itself to ensure that “sanctions are taken”.
His services would also examine all possible legal remedies, Klein said, also on X.
“No place in the stadiums”
Klein attached a video to his message in which PSG supporters are seen and heard chanting insults, which had clearly been rehearsed.
Contacted by AFP on Monday, PSG declared that it “condemns all forms of discrimination, particularly homophobia, and reaffirms that they have no place in stadiums or anywhere in society”.
The club indicated that it would strengthen its “prevention work” and would seek to meet “all our partners on this crucial subject”.
But when asked if they would indeed take legal action, PSG did not respond.
The LFP League, for its part, declined requests for comment from AFP, but the media indicated that the body’s disciplinary commission would examine the case from Wednesday.
PSG coach Luis Enrique, a Spanish national, said after Sunday’s match: “I’m sorry but I can’t say whether these chants are friendly or hostile.”
PSG players declined to comment.
Some of them, including Randal Kolo Muani and Ousmane Dembélé, were filmed chanting insults at the Marseille club as they celebrated their victory in front of the club’s most radical supporters, called “ultras”. .
Sunday’s incident is far from isolated, according to an IPSOS survey carried out this month for the LGBT+ Sports Federation, an association fighting discrimination in sport.
The poll showed that 46 percent of respondents said they had witnessed homophobic or transphobic behavior in sport themselves.
Less than half of those surveyed believe much has been done to combat such attitudes.
Last season, several Ligue 1 players refused an invitation to wear rainbow-colored badges on their jerseys as a gesture against homophobia, a campaign supported by the vast majority of players.
(With press agencies)