Words: Steve Brown
A French football game was suspended after fans raised two homophobic banners and shouted homophobic slurs.
During the match between Nice and Marseille on Wednesday (August 28), Nice supporters unfurled one banner which read: “Welcome to the INEOS group: at Nice we also love to pedal.”
The word ‘pedale’ in French means to pedal but is also a derogatory term used towards LGBTQ people, according to BBC Sport.
On the second banner, they criticised the French league authorities for approving more fenced-off sections in the stands and the translation read: “More fans in the stands means a more gay stadium”.
After the banners were held up, fans started chanting homophobic slurs towards other supporters and players.
When referee Clement Turpin realised supporters weren’t going to stop with the chants, he ordered players from both teams to be escorted from the pitch.
Nice’s manager Patrick Vieria said: “The referee was right to stop the match.
“These are unacceptable things. The message was clear, and the referee had no choice. He might have given us a little more time to try to go the supporters and ask them to remove the banner – but he explained things that I understand very well.”
France’s equalities minister praised the referee and tweeted: “Congratulations to the referee #ClementTurpin whose commitment to respect for football is known to have interrupted the match #OGCNOM #NiceOM while despite several requests for withdrawal of a homophobic banner dirtied the stands.
“Football is a matter of passion, not hate!”
Bravo à l’arbitre #ClémentTurpin dont on connaît l’engagement pour le respect dans le foot d’avoir interrompu le match #OGCNOM #NiceOM alors que malgré plusieurs demandes de retrait une banderole homophobe salit les tribunes.
Le #foot est une question de passion pas de haine ! ⚽️— 🇫🇷 MarleneSchiappa (@MarleneSchiappa) August 28, 2019