If it goes by the president of the French football association FFF, Noël Le Graët, will no longer be interrupted professional games due to homophobic hostility. The French radio station France Info said the 77-year-old, the referees should interrupt the ongoing game in racist incidents in the stadium - but not in homophobic.
In August, a game was interrupted for the first time in French professional football because of homophobic fan-chants, shortly thereafter repeated the process in the Erstligaspiel between OGC Nice and Olympique Marseille.
The background of the measures was a regulation of the FFF which entered into force at the beginning of the season, which enables referees to react to corresponding events in the stands. Apparently, the association and president are disagreeing.
"We'll see to it that there are no more banners," Le Graët said, adding to the admission controls. "But interrupt games? No." That was a mistake, said Le Graët. He was against homophobia. Games should be suspended from next weekend but only in racist incidents. However, the referees are not required to follow Le Graët - the club rules apply.
Requests to resign
For his statements Le Graët was sharply criticized. The accusation: He would divide discrimination into different categories and thereby make homophobia appear less critical, according to a spokesman for the anti-discrimination organization Rogue Direct, which opposes homophobia in French sport. The organization is calling on Le Graët to resign. Otherwise, she would go to court, it was said.
The French anti-racist organization SOS said that Le Graët's statements would "weaken the fight against discrimination of any kind - be it racism, homophobia or sexism". She also called on Le Graët to resign.
France's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu was also irritated by Le Graët's comments. She believes it is wrong to distinguish between racism and homophobia in this way, she said. Football should be encouraged to "take its share of responsibility in the fight against discrimination in general".