Watford investigating homophobic chanting at Southampton game
The club has reiterated its zero-tolerance approach to discrimination
Watford FC are investigating an incident of homophobic chanting at their 1-0 loss to Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
Watford fan Alexander Pitt wrote on Twitter that he had to leave the game early after hearing fellow Watford fans chanting 'rent boy' at an opposition player. He explained that he reported it to stewards but they couldn't do anything about it, which he found 'heartbreaking'.
The club have since issued a statement confirming that they are investigating the incident, reiterating their zero-tolerance approach to any kind of discrimination.
𝗪𝗲 are aware of an incident of homophobic chanting at Saturday's match.
𝗪𝗲 have spoken to the supporter who reported this and are working with them to identify the individuals responsible.
𝗪𝗲 reiterate our zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and how to report it.
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) November 1, 2021
A Watford statement read: "We are aware of an incident of homophobic chanting at Saturday's match.
"We have spoken to the supporter who reported this and are working with them to identify the individuals responsible.
"We reiterate our zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and how to report it."
I had to leave the game yesterday due to homophobic chanting from a group of fans Infront of me pic.twitter.com/HFir6InFYi
— Alexander Pitt 🏳️🌈 (@AlexPitt98) October 31, 2021
On Sunday, Pitt wrote: "Yesterday was my first game in 2 years at Watford. My brother and I left before full-time. Not because of the performance but because of the hostile atmosphere in the section of the stadium I was sat in.
"A group of fans who I am sure are season ticket holders taking two seats between 4, consistently swearing and being a nuisance, the breaking point was when they started chanting 'rent boy' to an opposition player. At that point I'd already reported them to the steward in the stands and in the V bar.
"The fact they felt they couldn't do anything was heartbreaking for me. Watford are a family club and that includes the singing section and the 1881 movement. The fact the stewards felt they have no power is just another step of the problem.
"In an unrelated incident I like being sat in the Rookery because the singing section helps bring the atmosphere up in the ground. I understand that it's hard to work out lyrics but a song about the size of a player's cock is inappropriate.
"On the plus side once we'd actually left we spoke to Steve the deputy steward about the incidents and he was incredibly helpful. All I hope is that the people causing the problems are identified and banned from the ground in future.
"The work that the Proud Hornets and every other LGBTQ+ supporters group is going to be more important than ever. It shouldn't take incidents like that happening to prompt the clubs to make the effort."
If you are unfamiliar with the historic context of the 'rent boy' chant, which has also been aimed at Billy Gilmour this season, watch the video below.
"There's been a campaign asking fans, if you hear people singing it, challenge it. It was so soul destroying."
🌈 @di_ceee of Proud Canaries on the homophobic abuse aimed at Billy Gilmour pic.twitter.com/UqFmb0j766
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) August 17, 2021