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From Ian Holyman
The Ligue 1 Podcast, producer
Warning: This report includes language some readers might discover offensive.
It was a minute that has altered the face of football.
Referee Mehdi Mokhtari stopped play for a filthy, but for homophobic abuse from the home fans, that rang about the half hour mark across the Stade Marcel Picot on 16 August not at the Ligue 2 game in Nancy.
The goal was not the day’s opponents however rather Metz, who will be the Ligue 1 neighbours in the Lorraine region of Nancy.
A scene announcement for supporters to quit using the non -“les Messins, les messins, c’est des pedes”, that translates as”people from Metz, people from Metz, they are faggots” – went unheeded.
So Mokhtari took action, stopping the match for some 60 seconds.
“it is a first,” France’s Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu posted on social media. “And the last, I hope.”
Her desire hasn’t been granted.
Up to now, the LFP is investigating 18 matches. Several games are disrupted, including the Nice-Marseille match on 28 August and the Brest-Reims experience four days earlier. Some top-flight nightclubs, such as Lille and Marseille, have now been given a dressing down to the behavior of the fans.
Maracineanu is in the heart of the initiative. Last April, she had been horrified by insults aimed by PSG fans at their most bitter rivals.
“It is simply inadmissible to hear the chants I discovered,” she explained. “I really don’t see why we’d let us to do things in a stadium we wouldn’t do elsewhere.”
Referees were taught to stop games this season should incidents happen. “Everything that is happening now has been planned a long time prior to the ministry spoke,” stated Bertrand Lambert, president of the anti-homophobia institution PanamBoyz & Girlz, but he confessed Maracineanu’s words had been”an electrical shock”.
They definitely got the ball rolling, but French football is through which kicked 19, fractured.
“Why are we being phased out today when we’ve been singing it for 20 years?” Stated Jean-Michel Goncalves, a Nancy fans’ association figure. “We’ve got nothing against homosexuals. If we insult Metz, it’s more about tradition” Nathalie Boy de la Tour, the LFP presidentdid not condone the tunes, but hit a chord with lovers when she said:”Most do not believe they’re hurting anyone.”
In a poll carried out to RTL, that view was echoed by 61 percent of supporters.
France is not alone. In 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo – subsequently at Real Madrid – has been advised to”come out of the closet” by a few Barcelona fans. The new Diego Maradona movie indicates the Argentina legend teaching his young daughter to mention a homophobic word to Napoli’s Serie A rivals from the late 1980s, and also Mexico fans attained notoriety at the 2018 World Cup in Russia for calling resistance goalkeepers male prostitutes when they shot goal-kicks.
“To phone your competition homosexual is unquestionably along a range of machismo, wherever your competitor is poorer – less manly,” Joshua Nadel, writer of Futbol! Soccer Matters in Latin America, told the Guardian.
It might be a part of football folklore in Latin countries, but Maracineanu’s response mirrors that the sea change in attitudes that make these chants longer okay inside stadiums when they have been frowned upon outside them.
However, her clear vision of what’s incorrect loses focus when it comes to the question of how to put it correctly.
“It’s not up to me to find solutions,” she said recently, but indicated at L’Equipe before this week that a record of homophobic phrases ought to be drawn up to give football government a clearer image of what constitutes this abuse.
“I am not actually at ease of the concept of a pre-defined record,” countered Frederic Potier, Inter-ministerial Delegate to the Fight against Racism, anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT. “Forbidding everything immediately will be stupid and would turn against us,” additional Yoann Lemaire, president of the Foot Ensemble (Football Together) association.
Opinions are as diverse among those around the pitch.
Nice midfielder Wylan Cyprien stated it was”ridiculous” to stop games”for so small,” asserting the chants were”not geared toward gay people”. His boss, Patrick Vieira, thought referee Clement Turpin had been”completely right” to halt the match with Marseille, an opinion shared by OM captain Steve Mandanda, who stated:”You have to make a stand and after that it quits.”
The problem is the stand of the LFP.
The Piantoni stand at the ground of Nancy was shut for one game thus far.
If they proceed further and dock teams issues?
“I don’t believe so,” said Lille trainer Christophe Galtier. “Why do you want to punish players that are neither racist nor homophobic because there is just one, 10, or 100 people who’ve racist or homophobic reactions in the stands?”
With all the onus on referees to prevent games with no apparent guidelines, inconsistencies are numerous and just fuelled fans’ confusion and anger. A meeting of analysts called by the LFP to help explain the situation had been expected to take place but has been pushed back by fans’ groups, that wish before broadening the dialogue, to take into account the matter internally.
The general mood, however, is optimistic.
“We will need to soon have applicable rules which are implemented everywhere and for everyone,” said Lambert. “But for this, we need to speak to one another, away from the cameras also without politics. I am optimistic, we will arrive.”
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