For the second time in three days, a match in France’s Ligue 1 had to be halted after fans unfurled a banner that referees deemed homophobic.
This time, it was a Paris Saint-Germain match in Metz that saw referees suspend play after Metz fans unfurled a banner profanely challenging Ligue 1’s pledge to halt homophobic chants from fans.
Tonight's problematic banner: "PSG, LFP, let me sing to you, to tell you to go f.... yourselves! I won't be on TV, because my words are not very gay." (C+) pic.twitter.com/T1tTmBRvfC— Get French Football News (@GFFN) August 30, 2019
A second banner was also seen mocking PSG over its Qatar Sports Investments ownership group and the country’s treatment of homosexuals. It’s unclear if that banner contributed to led to the suspension of play.
Play was reinstated minutes later, with PSG going on to win 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Ángel Di Maria and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
While it’s arguable that the second banner was actually anti-homophobic, weaponizing such a topic to taunt a rival sports team could be seen as trivializing the entire issue and damaging overall.
Homosexuality is outlawed in Qatar, with punishments ranging up to seven years and a fine (and yet, FIFA still gave them the World Cup). Same-sex marriages are also not recognized in the country and campaigning for LGBT rights has been deemed illegal.
Whether or not the Metz fans were legitimately protesting the treatment of homosexuals in Qatar, they had to be aware referees wouldn’t give them much benefit of the doubt.
Just two days ago, play was also suspended during a match between Nice and Marseille after fans unfurled multiple derogatory banners and chanted an anti-gay slur against Ligue 1. The league had warned fans that it was cracking down on homophobic chants earlier this season, with referees instructed to halt play if needed.
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