Football boss says he’d stop games for racist chants but not homophobic ones

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Noël Le Graët President of the French Football Federation. (Catherine Steenkeste/Getty)

The president of the French Football Federation (FFF) has said he would stop a football game because of racist chants, but he is “totally against” stopping one because of homophobic chants.

This season, the FFF introduced new rules allowing referees to interrupt games if homophobic incidents occurred.

According to HuffPost France, Noël Le Graët told French radio France Info: “We will make sure there are no more [homophobic banners and chants]. But stopping a game? No, I would not stop the games – totally against this.”

He then added: “I would stop a match if there are racist chants, that is clear.” He also said that racism and homophobia “are not the same thing”.

Sports minister Roxana Maracineanu spoke to the media at parliament and said: “The position of Noël Le Graët, which differentiates racism and homophobia, is erroneous.”

She added that it showed “a lack of education on the subject”.

President of SOS Homophobie, Jeremy Faledam, told Reuters: “It’s unsettling. He makes a hierarchy between racism and homophobia, which are two types of discrimination that need to be fought just the same.”

Le Graët caused more backlash earlier this week when he said that too many football matches were stopped over homophobia.

According to France 24, he said: “I think we’re stopping too many matches [because of anti-gay chants]. That makes certain government ministers happy, but it bothers me.

“Football can’t be taken hostage by vulgarity. Matches have been stopped when they shouldn’t have been.”

He also said that it wasn’t his job to solve the issue, adding: “Did football invent homophobia? You can be a know-it-all when you have got much to say. But there are more important political issues.

“This crisis will resolve itself. We will work with club presidents, people who don’t stick their oar in every morning, who don’t want to just look good in front of the television cameras.”

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