England’s decision to classify a soccer chant as anti-gay shows a game in transition, LGBTQ+ fans say, as authorities confront homophobia and racism in the home of modern football.
Players from Chelsea FC, currently third in the Premier League, are routinely mocked from the stands with loud chants of “rent boys” – slang for male sex workers and a dig at the area’s historic reputation as a gay hotspot.
But this month, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for England and Wales – an independent body that decides which cases to prosecute – decided the chant could amount to a hate crime, which could receive stiffer sentencing. “The impact on groups attacked by this type of mob behaviour can be devastating.
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