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New bill to amend Football Offences Act to make homophobic chanting illegal to be launched

Openly gay former Wales rugby star Gareth Thomas is heading the new draft

By Steve Brown

A new bill to amend the Football Offences Act 1991 and make indecent and homophobic chanting illegal will be launched next week.

Former Wales rugby star Gareth Thomas – who is openly gay – is set to join Damien Collins MP at the launch event which is set to be held at the Houses of Parliament, Sky Sports revealed, where Collins will table the draft bill.

The bill proposes an amendment that seeks to “make chanting or gesturing of an indecent nature with reference to sexual orientation or gender identity against the law”.

Section three of the act states that “it is an offence to engage or take part in chanting of an indecent or racialist nature at a designated football match” and that is described as “threatening, abusive or insulting to a person by reason of his colour, race, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins”.

This comes after a report from Kick it Out, which revealed racist behaviour was the highest reported form of discrimination.

Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia made up for 22 per cent of incidents, while antisemitism (nine per cent) was another major category.