Gareth Thomas calls on government to take action against homophobia in football
The rugby legend was talking on the Don’t Tell Me the Score podcast.
Rugby star Gareth Thomas has called on the British government to take action over homophobic abuse in football. Thomas was making the comments on the BBC’s Don’t Tell Me the Score podcast.
Speaking on the podcast, he said that football was better at reacting as opposed to taking action. “What happens in sport, I believe, in football definitely, is everyone in football is very good at reacting to situations,” he said.
“So we will have an act of racism, it hits the headlines, everyone comes out reacting in the right way.
“Another two or three months later another racist act or homophobic act or transphobic act will occur and everyone will react in the right way – but when you look at it seven months down the line, nothing has happened because everyone has reacted enough.”
He added there was “a blatantly obvious black hole in the law within football” and urged Boris Johnson to take action. Before the election, Thomas said he was planning on lobbying Damian Collins, the then Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, but he has since been replaced by Julian Knight.
“If you are running a country then you run the country to support everyone and to make better conditions for people to live in,” Thomas said.
“Yes I am passionate about the LGBT issue, but I am just as passionate about the racism issue – it is in there, it is so simple, so just make the change. Do it Boris, do it.”
He then added: “How can you have all of these organisations who run a multi-billions-pound game not realise that within a Football Offences Act, times have changed and maybe they should be amended?”
The FA responded to Gareth’s comments, saying: “The FA is committed to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in football at every level of the game.
“We continue to work with partners across the game, such as Stonewall and LBGT fan groups, to encourage fans and players to report abuse, both at a national and county FA level, and work with the leagues, campaign groups and the statutory agencies to sanction and educate perpetrators.”
Earlier this week, Gareth Thomas responded to the news that the Catalan Dragons had signed Israel Folau, who’d been dismissed from Rugby Australia over homophobic comments.
“Really upset by this as the game, players, and fans were so good to me,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter. “All I hope is that as much as Folau wanted his right to speak, then players and fans alike are aloud [sic] their right to respond.”