Ex-FIFA referee warns Liverpool of potential ‘sanctions’ after reports of ‘homophobic chanting’ vs Chelsea

Liverpool fans at Anfield Credit: Alamy
Liverpool fans at Anfield Credit: Alamy

Ex-Premier League referee Keith Hacket believes Liverpool and Chelsea deserve to face “sanctions” after reports of homophobic chanting during their 0-0 draw on Saturday.

A home announcer at Anfield was forced to issue a warning to fans that homophobic chanting is a criminal offence during the first half of the Premier League encounter.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp actually praised fans for their support in helping to eradicate a homophobic chant associated with the London club in the match programme.

Klopp wrote: “With Chelsea being our opponents, it makes sense that I also show gratitude to our supporters for the work they have done in stopping a chant which does not fit in with the traits of our city, our club or our people. I will not refer to it by name in this column because I think the less we can hear about it and see it the better but the really, really positive thing is that fans have come together to try to make it a thing of the past.

“We can already feel the effects of this. Positive steps have been made and hopefully, this will allow our supporters from the LGBT+ community to feel as welcome as they should. This was the message I received when I spoke with Paul Amann from Kop Outs a couple of years ago.

“He just wanted the chant to stop so that our all our fans could feel more welcome. I did not think it was too much of an ask then and I do not think it is too much of an ask now so it is good to see the support Kop Outs are receiving. Hopefully, this will carry on not only today but also in the future.”

The Football Association are trying to eradicate the use of homophobic abuse at matches and recently said in a statement: “Today, the FA has formally written to all clubs across the Premier League, EFL, National League, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship and Steps 2-4, to remind them that it can pursue formal disciplinary action against any club whose supporters engage in discriminatory behaviour, now including the use of the term ‘rent boy’.

“This important step follows the recent successful prosecution of an individual by the Crown Prosecution Service for homophobic abuse, specifically relating to the term ‘rent boy’.

“The FA has now informed all clubs that it considers the ‘rent boy’ chant to be a breach of the FA rules. These rules apply to the conduct of supporters at both home and away fixtures, and clubs at all levels of English football have a responsibility to ensure their spectators behave appropriately when attending matches.”

Ex-FIFA and Premier League referee Hackett does understand that it is very hard to be policed by clubs, but thinks there must be “sanctions”.

“It’s difficult for the clubs to police,” Hackett told Football Insider.

“Proving who has sung the chants is the problem. Both clubs will do everything possible to stop it from happening.

“I heard the tannoy address, so people inside the stadium were concerned with what was happening.

“What you’ve got to do is fix the cameras on the noise, and start to use the police to single people out.

“I think the FA need to have a look at their rules to determine whether they are strong enough.

“It’s the clubs who are charged, at the end of the day, and they need to look at potential sanctions for this kind of thing.”

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