Two Leicester City fans have been arrested on suspicion of “homophobic related offences” following the football club’s match against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (August 19)
Police confirmed that two arrests had been made after a group of supporters were ejected from the King Power Stadium during Leicester’s 2-0 home win over the Seagulls on Saturday (August 19) for homophobic chanting.
According to witnesses, a group of Leicester City supporters began chanting homophobic slurs at Brighton supporters around 20 minutes before the end of the match.
One fan, who did not want to be named, said the scenes harked back to the football hooliganism which marred the game during the late 20th century.
“We’ve encountered abuse over the years, but it’s all but gone from the game,” the fan told the Leicester Mercury.
“However, a group of around 20 to 30 Leicester City fans close to Brighton supporters suddenly started chanting vicious homophobic abuse and making homophobic gestures.
“It was like something out of the 1970s, and this sort of bigoted, small minded behaviour needs to be stopped and those involved ejected from the ground.”
A 44-year-old man has been charged with indecent chanting under Section 3 of the Football Offences Act and is due to appear at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (August 24), the BBC reports.
A second man aged 21 was arrested on suspicion of making obscene gestures was given a caution.
Leicester City have been quick to condemn the fans’ behaviour, and praised stadium stewards for swiftly removing those responsible.
A spokesperson said: “We are committed to creating a passionate, inclusive, welcoming environment at King Power Stadium, in which everyone is free to enjoy the matchday experience.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to educate our staff, senior King Power Stadium stewards undertook specialist training during the summer in effectively identifying offensive behaviour, including contributions from Leicester’s LGBT Centre on recognising homophobic abuse.
“While disappointed that such abuse took place during Saturday’s match, we are satisfied that our stewards reacted swiftly and appropriately, which led to the responsible minority being ejected from the stadium and reported to the police.”