International

Lens fans deny gay chants are homophobic

2019-04-16 18:45

Paris - Lens fans who again aimed a French slang word for gay at opponents insisted on Tuesday that they didn't "think the words could wound" and that they were the victims of a "media buzz".

On Monday a court in Bethune in northern France opened an investigation into chants it described as "provocative and possibly homophobic" at a Ligue 2 match between Lens and local rival Valenciennes on Friday.

The French league's disciplinary commission will examine the case on Wednesday.

The investigations follow a video released by Rouge Direct, a gay football collective, that shows the cheerleader, or 'capo', of the Red Tigers group of ultras, starting a chant aimed at Valenciennes players containing a widely used French insult often aimed at gay men.

On Tuesday, the fans responded, through a spokesman, that they had been misunderstood but that they supported their capo.

"In our stand, nobody has been, or will be, categorised by gender, sexual orientation, origins, colour or religion," Pierre Revillon, spokesperson for the Red Tigers, told AFP. "Being a Lens supporter is enough for us.

"We will remain behind the capo, who had no nasty intentions when he started the chant which was taken up by the whole stand, who did not think the words could wound and harm the homosexual community.

"You've heard these chants in every stadium in France for years," he said.

Revillon added that the Lens ultras were "dismayed by the attitude and methods" of Rouge Direct and "bodies that classify without understanding and without making the effort to understand the history and culture of our terraces," Revillon said. 

"We refuse to be insulted as homophobes and we do not want to serve as an example," he said, adding that Lens fans "invite the Rouge Direct collective to come to see us and talk with us in the stands, something they should have done before embarking on a media buzz that makes us look like people we are not".

Lens later issued a statement which said the Red Tigers cheerleader had agreed to step aside until further notice.

"The stands at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis have always advocated open-mindedness and fought against all forms of discrimination," the club added, inviting Rouge Direct to attend a Lens game "to observe the friendly, respectful and festive atmosphere in the ground".

Read more on:    lens  |  soccer

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Breaking News

Live scoring

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

Who will emerge victorious in this season's Champions League?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.