The FA have added a homophobic chant to its list of rule breaches – and action can be taken against clubs whose supporters use it.
The term ‘rent boy’ has been heard on numerous occasions during Premier League and FA Cup games this season.
It was directed at former Chelsea player and manager Frank Lampard during Everton’s FA Cup tie against Manchester United last week.
And this year, the chant was heard from the stands during Chelsea’s fixtures against Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and Manchester City.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed last year that it considers the term ‘rent boy’ as a homophobic slur.
Image credit: AlamyEarlier this month, the Crown Prosecution Service said they were looking into chants from some Nottingham Forest supporters during their New Year’s Day clash against Chelsea.
Now, the FA have vowed to take action against clubs whose supporters use the term ‘rent boy’ in chants.
A statement released on Wednesday read: “The Football Association [The FA] strongly condemns all offensive, abusive and discriminatory chanting in football stadiums, and is determined to stamp this behaviour out. These chants can have a lasting and damaging impact on people and communities within our game, and it must stop.
“Today, The FA has formally written to all clubs across the Premier League, EFL, National League, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship and Steps 2-4, to remind them that it can pursue formal disciplinary action against any club whose supporters engage in discriminatory behaviour, now including the use of the term ‘Rent Boy’.
“This important step follows the recent successful prosecution of an individual by the Crown Prosecution Service for homophobic abuse, specifically relating to the term ‘Rent Boy’.
“The FA has now informed all clubs that it considers the ‘Rent Boy’ chant to be a breach of the FA Rules. These rules apply to the conduct of supporters at both home and away fixtures, and clubs at all levels of English football have a responsibility to ensure their spectators behave appropriately when attending matches.
“The FA takes all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and would encourage anybody who has been subject to, or a witness of incidents of discrimination, to report it to The FA, the club or the relevant authorities so it can be investigated thoroughly.
“Together English football can drive meaningful and positive change so that stadiums can be a safe and enjoyable environment for all.”
Image credit: AlamyLast year, Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher had the chant aimed at him when Crystal Palace came up against Millwall, who threatened any fan found guilty of discriminatory abuse with a lifetime ban.
Liverpool, Tottenham and Leeds have all issued statements condemning its use.
The Crown Prosecution Service considers it a homophobic term. A CPS spokesman told Sky Sports last year: “The CPS continues to take racist and homophobic chanting at football matches extremely seriously and is working closely the FA, football clubs and charities to drive this hideous behaviour out of the game.
“The impact on groups attacked by this type of mob behaviour can be devastating. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone accused of these actions where there is sufficient evidence to do so.”