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Alleged homophobic abuse reported at Millwall vs Reading

Championship match paused by referee during first half, with fans warned via stadium announcement at half-time

The Den, Millwall
Image: The alleged abuse occurred at The Den on Saturday afternoon

Millwall have confirmed match officials reported an incident of alleged homophobic abuse during their Championship game against Reading at The Den on Saturday.

The Lions won 2-0 thanks to two second half goals, but the game was overshadowed by referee Keith Stroud stopping play during the first half due to the incident.

Stroud was called over by his assistant in front of the East Stand to report alleged homophobic chanting from sections of the home support.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Reading

The experienced referee informed both managers of the situation, before fans were warned via a public announcement at half-time.

A Millwall statement read: "Millwall Football Club can confirm that the match officials reported an alleged incident of homophobic abuse during the first-half of its game against Reading at The Den today (Saturday 18th January 2020).

"The club carried out step one of the advised protocol by making a tannoy announcement to the crowd as quickly as possible. A comprehensive investigation into the alleged incident is well underway.

"Millwall Football Club has a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination of any kind. Any individual found guilty of such abuse at The Den is issued with an immediate lifetime ban."

Both Millwall boss Gary Rowett and Reading manager Mark Bowen gave their view of events after the conclusion of the match.

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Millwall boss Gary Rowett says the club will investigate the incident

Rowett said: "I don't necessarily think it was a chant, I think the linesman's heard a comment. There can be lots of comments in a game like that.

"The linesman, with what he's suggested the comment was, has to report it to the referee, who then in turn has to report it to the side of the pitch.

"The club are brilliant at stuff like that, they've worked incredibly hard to make sure things like that don't happen here.

"It's something we don't condone if it has been said. We don't know for sure that it has and they'll investigate, so of course I'll leave it down to them to investigate."

Bowen added: "The referee came over and quietly said he's got to tell us, myself and Gary [Rowett], that there was reported homophobic chants on the far side.

"I don't know if it was to our players or anything. In fairness to our players, they didn't mention it at half-time, we were focused on other things.

"It's sad. From my point of view, as the manager of Reading, it's sad, but it's Millwall's situation to deal with."

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