An investigation into alleged homophobic chants heard during Manchester United‘s 3-1 FA Cup win against Everton on Friday night has been opened by the Football Association.
During the second half of the game at Old Trafford, the cry appeared to be intended at Everton manager Frank Lampard and alluded to his lengthy relationship with Chelsea, where he served as both a player and manager.
The regulatory body FA issued the following statement:
We strongly condemn the use of the term ‘rent boy’ and we are determined to drive it out of our game.
‘We continue to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as the UK Football Policing Unit, in relation to the use of this term.
‘Part of our work in this area has been to provide the relevant authorities with impact statements from LGBTQ+ supporters, detailing how chants of this nature affects their experience and feeling of inclusion at football matches, so that a clearer stance and understanding on the chant can be established.
‘We stand firmly against all forms of discrimination and we are striving to ensure our game is a safe environment for all, which truly embraces diversity and challenges hateful conduct both on and off the pitch.’
United announced in a statement:
‘Homophobia, like all forms of discrimination, has no place in football. Manchester United is proud of our diverse fan base and the work we have done to reduce instances like we sadly heard today.
‘We will continue to campaign for inclusivity and to tackle discriminatory abuse whether inside stadiums or online. This includes working with fan groups to educate fans on the offence which discriminatory language causes.’
United’s LGBTQ+ supporters organization, Rainbow Devils, urged the team to track down and punish individuals behind the shouts.
The group said in a tweet:
‘We strongly condemn the taunting of Frank Lampard with the illegal and homophobic chant from a section of our fans and call for the club to take action.’
‘We call on Manchester United to do everything in their power to identify the culprits and deal with them in the strongest possible manner.’