Antonio Cassano made headlines recently in a Euro 2012 news conference when he stated that he hopes there are no gay players in the Italy squad. Media circulated rumors speculated that there were two homosexual players in the team, to which Cassano responded, “Queers in the national team? That’s their business. But I hope not.”
Later Cassano issued an apology for his statement, saying “I am sincerely sorry that my comments have caused controversy and protests among gay groups. Homophobia is not a point of view that I share. I didn’t want to offend anyone and I absolutely don’t want to put a person’s sexual freedom under discussion.
“I only said that it was a problem which was nothing to do with me and I don’t let myself express judgments on other people’s choices, which should all be respected.”
A weak apology and one that does not do much to dose the fire of controversy with the inclusion of the “other people’s choices” phrase. Still, it must be mentioned that this is Antonio Cassano, who is no stranger to public stupidity outbreaks.
Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, who has been supportive of gay footballers in the past, and the rest of the national team have refused to comment on Cassano’s remarks in an attempt to remain focused on upcoming matches.
The English FA has charged 3 players this week after they made homophobic comments on Twitter. Federico Macheda (QPR, on loan from Manchester United), Nile Ranger (Newcastle), and Manny Smith (Walsall) were accused of “acting in a way which was improper and/or brought the game into disrepute. It is further alleged that the breach included a reference to a person’s or persons’ sexual orientation.” This action follows the FA’s punishment of Ravel Morrison last week, when the West Ham player was fined £7,000 and warned of his future conduct. The players had until 4pm GMT to respond to the charges.
The tweets in question range from possible typo to unquestionable abusive language. Macheda claims he did not mean to tweet “shhh you stupid little gay”, but “stupid little guy” when responding to a fan on the social media site. Ranger is being charged with calling a fan “Faggot”, and Smith for responding to a tweet upset with the recent form of Walsall with “ur defo a queer u belend!”
Smith already has apologized for his comments in person and issued the following statement:
“I would like to publicly apologise to Kevin. The comments were borne out of frustration and were tweeted in the heat of the moment. I deeply regret them. I realise that, as a professional sports person, I am a role model and my conduct, both in person and via social networking sites, should reflect this. I met with Kevin in person and apologised to him face-to-face. I just want to concentrate on my football and help Walsall maintain our League One status. I apologise to all our supporters and everyone connected with the club for this unfortunate incident.”
A spokesperson for the club added: “We would like to place on record our zero tolerance attitude to such behaviour.
“We will be dealing with this matter, in its entirety, internally with guidance from the various governing bodies.”
Before Wednesday’s Champions League match between Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow, Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was captured on video using a homophobic slur while speaking about the match officials. In the video below you can see Mourinho use the Spanish term “maricones”, which translates to faggots in English, when speaking about the officials and the fact they had not yet decided upon a match ball.
(Offence occurs at .23 second mark)
The European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF) has filed a complaint against the Real Madrid manager,and co-president Louise Englefield has urged UEFA to take action against Mourinho.
“Homophobia is unacceptable from anyone in football, much less from one of the game’s most senior figures. We are deeply disappointed that Mr. Mourinho is casually using homophobic terms of abuse in his workplace,” Englefield was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.
“It is especially sad that these comments have been made during the International Football v Homophobia campaign week. As long-standing partners of the FARE network, we call on UEFA to take action and impose appropriate sanctions.”
UEFA has yet to comment on EGLSF’s complaint.
If you would like to press UEFA to take action against Mourinho you can do so by contacting the organization using the information below:
Route de Genève 46
CH-1260 Nyon 2
Tel: +41 (0) 848 00 2727
The U.K. has taken steps forward to combat homophobia in sport this week, with Prime Minister David Cameron meeting with football representatives and equality organizations Wednesday.
The meeting was held because of the recent series of racism accusations, but Cameron said the meeting was to “reaffirm our vigilance against racism – and all forms of discrimination.”
Amal Fashanu, niece of Justin Fashanu and who recently made a documentary video about homosexuality in football, was one of the participants at the meeting. This past week the FA launched an action plan for tackling homophobia at a grassroots level, but Cameron also pushed for more work to be done in the top leagues.
“It’s obviously quite unlikely that there are no gay Premiership players, and that tells you something about the tolerance within the game,” said Steve Field, Cameron’s spokesman. Sources: (Al Jazeera) (The Guardian) (Bloomberg Business Week)
Meanwhile, the FA have punished West Ham player Ravel Morrison for a homophobic remark he made on Twitter. The player was fined £7000 and warned about any future misconduct after admitting to the charge of “using abusive and/or insulting words including a reference to a person’s sexual orientation.” (The Telegraph)
Finally in Scotland, a new initiative was launched Tuesday against homophobia in Scottish sport as part of Football vs Homophobia week. The initiative, Out for Sport, will be run by the Equality Network, a charity working for LGBT human rights in Scotland, with work also being done by LEAP Sports Scotland, a national organization established to support LGBT sporting groups. Out for Sport will research homophobia and transphobia in Scottish sport and use the results to produce a series of recommendations to the Scottish government and sports bodies.
Scott Cuthbertson, Community Development Coordinator for the Equality Network, said; “For too long homophobia and transphobia has been allowed to plague Scottish sport, with prejudice and discrimination too often left unchallenged. This will be Scotland’s biggest research to date on homophobia and transphobia in sport.
With all eyes on Scottish sport in the lead up to the Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth games, now is the right time to ensure sport is fully inclusive to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.” (Gay Today)
As many of you probably know, we a currently in Football v Homophobia week, which runs from February 18-26. The main website for this event can be found here where you can find all kinds of information, a shop, and ideas for how to support the event.
In addition, they also have gotten many professional clubs to get involved with Football v Homophobia, with the official list of now being:
- Aston Villa
- Newcastle United
- Norwich City
- Brighton & Hove Albion
- Derby County
- Ipswich Town
- Huddersfield Town
- MK Dons
- Wycombe Wanderers
- Exeter City
- Port Vale
- Hyde FC
They also have plenty of information for fans to use to help get their favorite club to support equality, which can be found here.
There are also many planned events for local football fans (all events are in England).
LGBT Panel Event at Nottingham Trent University
Hosted by Nottingham Ball Bois, this discussion event on Tuesday February 21st will see a number of highly-respected figures, including Nottingham Forest Chairman Frank Clark, Notts County defender Sam Sodje, and The Justin Campaign Director Megan Worthing-Davies all speak.
More info here.
The K College in Tonbridge will be holding the inaugural Justin Campaign Virtual League, to be played on Fifa 12 on the XBox.
Nottingham City Homes LGBT Employee Forum is hosting an event which will focus on the relationship between sport and the LGBT community. The event takes place at the Tenant Resource Centre, 14 Hounds Gate, Nottingham. (11am – 3pm)
Starting on the 26th of February, Liverpool Pride will be hosting three five-a-side tournaments for FvH. The other dates are 4th Mar and 25th Mar. More info here.
Hello everyone! I hope you all have had a great start to the new year.
You have probably noticed our absence over the past few months and wondered when, or if, we would be back working. We had quite a few problems with the website because of our domain being purchased by a third party, but now we can finally announce that we are back! Our website address has changed to redcardhomophobia.net and we hope to be posting new articles shortly.
In order to return fully though we need everyone’s support and energy to keep this project alive. Everyone working at Red Card Homophobia also has work, school, family, etc responsibilities that also require their attention, so it would be great if more of you could volunteer to help.
You can do this by writing articles or finding articles from your local community and sending them to us. Please leave a comment if you are interested in writing and we will have our head of writers email you. Other ways to help are simply spreading some RCH love on twitter, commenting on the posts we put up, and/or making graphics in support of kicking homophobia out of football.
Thank you all for your continued support of Red Card Homophobia.
In the second article in our series on gay and gay friendly football clubs we focus on the Mersey Marauders based in Liverpool, England. We got in touch with team chairperson Paul for this interview.
The foundation of a gay/bi friendly football team on Merseyside in 2005 was the idea of Steve Hess. Having previously played for London’s Stonewall FC, Steve used the GFSN as a vehicle to gauge interest in a team from the football Mecca of Liverpool. His initial premise was for ‘Fairies across the Mersey’ to gather together and join in the national 5-a-side tournaments, promoting health and fitness and providing a social group for gay and bisexual football supporters and players in and around the Liverpool area. (http://baroberts.bimserver2.com/mersey.html)