Complaint lodged as Christiano Ronaldo targeted with homophobic abuse during match

A Spanish LGBT rights group have made a formal complaint, after footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was subjected to homophobic slurs from the crowd during a match on Saturday (April 2). The Spanish Observatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender phobia lodged the complaint with Spain’s State Commission against Violence in Sport. Barcelona fans were heard to shout 'maricon' at the Real Madrid player on the pitch at Camp Nou. The Spanish word is a vulgar insult directed at gay men which roughly translates as 'faggot'. "These deplorable and shameful acts are punishable according to the law of sport," Francisco Ramirez, the director of the Observatory said. He added that Ronaldo "has been the continued object of insults and malicious rumours regarding his sexual orientation from journalists, players and fans of rival teams in order to humiliate, offend and denigrate a great football player." RONALDO

“It is necessary to clarify that homophobia does not necessarily mean that people who suffer are homosexual, but only that other people believe it or use it to insult, harass and humiliate others.”

Last December, French sports presenter Daniel Riolo courted controversy after implying that Ronaldo's relationship with boxer Badr Hari was more than just friendship.

Homophobia remains a huge cultural problem in football around the world. Just last month, a new video campaign showed Mexican players condeming homophobic chants, after it emerged as a huge problem in that nation during the 2014 World Cup.

Ramirez pointed out that it is vital for the football associations to clamp down on homophobia, in the same way they would any other kind of bullying or discrimination.

"It is incomprehensible that there is a double standard to measure intolerance in sport," he said. "Cases of racism or xenophobia have been acted upon with speed and forcefulness, yet homophobia continues to be ignored."

The State Commission to whom he complained can impose punishments on those clubs and supporters which are found to have engaged in any of these types of offences.

More stories Cristiano Ronaldo gets a spattering in new underwear campaign Mexican footballers speak out against homophobic crowd chants in new video