The suspension of several football matches in France due to the appearance of homophobic and chanting banners against homosexuals in the stands has caused great controversy between the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) and the Minister of Sports.
While the latter, Roxana Maracineanu, encouraged the members to be firmer to combat these behaviors, and even assured that the games to the teams whose hobbies are repeat offenders, the president of the FFF, Noël Le Graët must be lost , said Tuesday that "too many matches are being stopped."
"Some ministers may like that, but it bothers me. It seems that all stadiums have become homophobic places. I strongly deny that image," said Le Graët, after the beginning of the season was marked by the suspension of several meetings for these reasons, including the Metz - PSG and Nice - Olympique de Marseille, or the Nancy - Le Mans of the French Second Division.
In the case of the Tomas Tuchel match in Metz, the referee decided to stop the match after 20 minutes of play by observing two banners with clear homophobic messages
In the clash played at the Alianz Riviera in Nice, some fans also carried banners in which they welcomed the Ineos group, making a pun with the word pedal, which in French is worth referring to the bicycle part and also to disparage homosexuals.
Therefore, he assured that he will send instructions to the referees so that they do not stop the matches by homophobic banners. Speaking to France Info , Le Graët said that stopping matches can be counterproductive, because it encourages provocateurs to persist in their behavior. In addition, he added that we must fight to make those banners disappear, which he attributed to "some exaggerated spectators", but considered that the suspension of the matches is not the most efficient method.
The FFF, more blunt with racism
Le Graët, however, was in favor of stopping the parties for racist insults or for a confrontation in the stands, a distinction that earned him great criticism. Starting with those of the minister, who considered it "wrong" to differentiate racist and homophobic insults and which was taken for granted by the claims of Le Graët.
Maracineanu said that the words of the president of the FFF go against the fight that she herself has led to banish stadium homophobia, which she inscribed in the action of her government and the slogans of FIFA. The minister added that years ago homophobia is recorded in the stadiums and that it did not surprise anyone, but that he has engaged in that fight even though he knew "it would not be easy."
"Football must contribute to the fight against all discrimination. In that sense, the slogan, supported by FIFA, is zero tolerance," he insisted. Maracineanu said he will talk to Le Graët to dissuade him from giving instructions to the referees so they don't stop the matches.
Various associations fighting homophobia were also critical of Le Graët and called for his resignation. Historic leader of the modest Guingamp, Le Graët, 77, has been leading the FFF since 2011, having led the League between 1991 and 2000.
The world champion with the French team and current Chelsea striker, Olivier Giroud, positioned himself in favor of hardening the punishments for those who carried this type of banners in the stadiums. "I don't know if the songs can be avoided, but the banners, yes. It is necessary to identify the troublemakers and throw them out of the stadiums. In England this does not happen. There is a regulation that keeps them under control. That in 2019 we are still talking about homophobia or racism indicates that our society has not changed much "
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