Fans found to have used 'rent boy' slur at football will be prosecuted, says CPS
Those who use the chant are liable to prosecution
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed that using the term 'rent boy' is considered a homophobic slur and as a result, is capable of amounting to a hate crime, making those who use it liable to prosecution.
The chant has been aimed at Chelsea players for a number of years, with Liverpool, Leeds and Tottenham all issuing statements condemning its use by sections of their supporters in matches against the Blues this season.
Ryan Mather is a gay Huddersfield fan. In December 2018, he recoiled as the fans sat next to him began chanting homophobic slurs at the opposition.
“I was ashamed of my own club,” he says. “I was *this* close to leaving the stadium.” 🏳️🌈
✍️ @maddy_mussen https://t.co/vIaNvKnD0c
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) December 9, 2021
When Palace played Millwall last Saturday, Gallagher was subject to the vile chant, with the Lions threatening any fan found guilty of discriminatory abuse with a lifetime ban.
Similarly, Liverpool released a short statement urging supporters to remember the club's inclusive values after Gilmour was targeted with 'offensive and inappropriate' chants during the Premier League win at Norwich in August.
As is the case with racist language, the FA is bound by what the police and CPS regard as discriminatory language that can lead to prosecution.
Please take a few moments to read the statement and Lee’s story, & share with others.
The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed the “rent boy” chant is homophobic, Lee’s story was written before this. #retirethechant
Together we can make positive change in football. https://t.co/YztKLCjOus
— Love Football Hate Racism (@LFHROfficial) January 12, 2022
A CPS spokesperson told Sky Sports that it accepts the term is a homophobic slur, stating: "The CPS continues to take racist and homophobic chanting at football matches extremely seriously and is working closely the FA, football clubs and charities to drive this hideous behaviour out of the game.
"The impact on groups attacked by this type of mob behaviour can be devastating. We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone accused of these actions where there is sufficient evidence to do so."
The FA's equality, diversity and inclusion director, Edleen John, told Sky Sports in August that English football's national governing body is determined to remove the term from football.
"We absolutely do condemn the use of the word 'rent boy'. It's really negative, it's not welcoming, it doesn't create a sense of belonging, and frankly, it's disgusting," he said.
"We have to understand that 'rent boy' is on the same level [as racism].
"What we have to do is get to a place where the police and CPS systems view it in that same way so that the actions can be taken that we want to see across football and more broadly.
"That's why we continue to work with groups, day-to-day constituents and individuals, the police, and the CPS to make sure that that information is there, that the terminology is really understood and that we can really drive it out of football."
- Liverpool condemn supporters’ offensive chant directed at Billy Gilmour
- Leeds condemn homophobic chanting aimed at Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher
- Tottenham condemn homophobic chanting during Chelsea game