French Football League Head Backtracks On Saying Homophobic Chants Are Part Of Tradition

Nathalie Boy de la Tour took back her statement saying that homophobia was 'part of folklore'.

French football fans in the auditorium holding flags

Nathalie Boy de la Tour, the head of the French football league, raised ire recently over comments she made regarding homophobia in the stands.

At a match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Olympique de Marseille, homophobic chanting was reported, leading sports minister Roxana Maracineanu to say they would work harder to ban such chants in football stadiums. The minister described, “There was latent racism in one specific chant, and essentially there were chants with a homophobic connotation.”

During an interview, French football league head Boy de la Tour was asked about the sports minister’s statement. Boy de la Tour replied, “These are things we hear regularly…What you hear in a stadium, you won’t hear it outside, when you go shopping. In the stadium it’s not acceptable as such but it’s part of the folklore.”

She continued talking down the responsibility of fans to be decent human beings: “I’m not making excuses. But when you talk about homophobic chants, for a lot of supporters, it’s part of the folklore.”

The attitude was a step back for a sport which has made greater efforts to be inclusive and to stamp out homophobia.

The comments caused widespread backlash from organisations looking to end homophobia in sport, such as Stop Homophobie who said, “To consider, as the President of LFP does, that homophobic songs are part of football folklore, is to minimise and tolerate homophobia. These practices must be strongly condemned, prevented and punished.”

Boy de la Tour has since backtracked on her comments, saying she “condemns all homophobic words”, with Stop Homophobie saying she had contacted them to say she “unequivocally condemns all homophobia in football and stadiums”.

Football officials need to do more to end homophobia in the stands, especially in light of the news Warsaw homophobes unfurled a long banner reading “keep Warsaw free from faggots” at a match.

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