Manchester United promised to tackle homophobia and other forms of discrimination after supporters aimed the homophobic ‘Chelsea rent boy’ chant at Everton’s Frank Lampard.
A collection of supporters could be heard singing the homophobic chant in the direction of Lampard during the second half of the FA Cup third-round clash at Old Trafford on Friday (6 January).
In the second half, some Manchester United fans chanted ‘Chelsea rent boy’ at Lampard – a reference to his former Chelsea days. The infamous chant has been classed as a homophobic hate crime and widely denounced by multiple football clubs.
Manchester United strongly denounced the chanting during the game against Everton and vowed to tackle homophobia and other forms of discrimination.
“Homophobia, like all forms of discrimination, has no place in football,” the football club said, the Athletic reported.
The statement continued: “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.”
The chant in question was previously heard in October when Manchester United played against Stamford Bridge in October. At the time, the club promised to work with fans to tackle the issue.
Manchester United promised to continue to “campaign for inclusivity and to tackle discriminatory abuse whether inside stadiums or online”. (Getty)
In a statement issued on Friday, England’s football governing body announced it would be working with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police to get to the bottom of the homophobic chanting incident.
“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,” the FA said.
“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.”
Rainbow Devils, the LGBTQ+ fan group for Manchester United, demanded the club take action and find out the culprits behind the chanting.
“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,” the group tweeted.
It added in a later tweet: “We call on [Manchester United] to do everything in their power to identify the culprits and deal with them in the strongest possible manner.”
LGBTQ+ supporters Pride in Football also demanded stronger action against homophobia and called on authorities to finally banish the chant.
“‘Sacked in the morning’ is one thing directed at Lampard, the next one is unnecessary and a hate crime,” Pride in Football tweeted.
“The CPS and other governing bodies need to do more. Clearly, what is happening now isn’t good enough with ‘Chelsea rent boys’ chanted again this evening at Man Utd vs Everton.”
The homophobic chanting came days after it was heard during a match between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest.
Tracy Brown, co-chair of Chelsea Pride, told PinkNews that the LGBTQ+ football fan group wanted to “see homophobia, biphobia and transphobia kicked out of football”.
“We still have a long way to go to make football a game for everyone, but together as a community, we can achieve amazing things,” Brown said.