Skip to content

Crystal Palace's Damien Delaney says homophobic abuse of players on matchdays is brutal

A rainbow corner flag in place at Oakwell Stadium prior to the Championship match between Barnsley and Leeds
Image: Kick It Out last month revealed a 59 percent rise in reported incidents of discrimination within football

Players are receiving "brutal" homophobic abuse from supporters at matches, says Crystal Palace defender Damien Delaney.

Discussing discrimination experienced on matchdays, the Irishman said he felt examples of racism in stadiums appeared to be falling whereas hearing homophobic language is becoming more common.

Live Premier League

"I'm not saying racism doesn't happen anymore, but it's very rare that you hear racism from the crowd," said the 36-year-old, whose Palace side face Liverpool on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

"Homophobic stuff is pretty brutal. That seems to be the new thing.

"As a player on the pitch, some of the obscenities that get yelled at you, to me, it is what it is. Some of it's homophobic. Some of it's about your family. Some of it's gruesome stuff.

"It's become acceptable now to yell obscenities and just give players grief," added Delaney, who was speaking at an event by Crystal Palace and Fans For Diversity, which is a campaign run in partnership between Kick It Out and the Football Supporters' Federation.

Kick It Out last month revealed a "significant" 59 percent rise in reported incidents of discrimination within football - over 300 reports relating to 282 incidents of discriminatory abuse, through to the end of 2017.

Also See:

 during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on September 30, 2017 in Manchester, England.
Image: Damien Delaney has called the homophobic abuse players get on matchdays 'brutal'

The organisation's results stated racist behaviour (54%) was the highest reported form of discrimination while homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (HBT) made up 22% of incidents.

Anwar Uddin, the Fans for Diversity campaigner who in 2007 became the first British Asian to captain a Football League club when he led out Dagenham, says all forms of discrimination must be addressed and more must be done to educate supporters.

"Football as a whole has the power to be less reactionary and more proactive," Uddin said.

"We could say that overt racism has decreased and homophobia is on the increase. Maybe [homophobia] has always been there but we are just now learning about different strands of equality.

"We cannot prioritise discrimination. It's all the same. We should make people aware of all the different strands of diversity."

Fans group Pride in Football (PiF) says the increased visibility of the LGBT community in football makes supporters more confident to report abuse and discriminatory language.

Earlier this month, PiF said: "The visibility of this community in football through group banners in stadia and a presence on social media has empowered not just LGBT+ fans but supporters in general to challenge unacceptable incidents."

Fantasy Six-a-Side
Fantasy Six-a-Side

Pick your dream team for Chelsea v Tottenham to be the latest £50k jackpot winner.

Around Sky