Edleen John, the football association’s director of equality, diversity and inclusion, says the board of directors abhor the “disgusting” use of the insult “rent boy” and is determined to get it out of the game.
Norwich, Liverpool, a number of LGBT + groups and Kick It Out have condemned the use of the term by some Liverpool supporters against loaned Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour during the teams’ Premier League opener on Carrow Road on Saturday.
The incident took place hours after the Derby championship defeat at Peterborough and was tarnished by allegations of homophobia and racism from a minority of away fans.
John told Sky Sports News the insult was akin to racial abuse and it is understood that the FA is working with authorities to achieve reclassification of the phrase as discriminatory.
“We definitely condemn the use of the word ‘rental boy’. It’s really negative, it’s not welcoming, it doesn’t create a sense of belonging and frankly it’s gross, ”John told Sky Sports News.
“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 the CPS system see this in the same way, so that the action can be taken that we want to see across football and in general.
“So we continue to work with groups, everyday voters and individuals, the police and the CPS to make sure this information is there, that the terminology is really understood and that we can really get it out of football.” . “
The FA is currently bound by what the police and the CPS consider discriminatory language that can lead to prosecution. As with racist language, it is the police who enforce the law, not the FA.
Earlier this year, anti-discrimination campaign groups told Sky Sports News that they are calling on the FA to reconsider its assessment of the sentence after guidelines were presented to a county association that it did not meet the criteria the governing body was determining used homophobic language.
Last October, a local Somerset League game between Shipham AFC and Portishead Town’s “A-Team” was abandoned after Shipham’s players left the field after a Portishead competitor allegedly used the discriminatory slur.
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Kick It Out is the football equality and inclusion organization that works across the football, education and community sectors to combat discrimination, promote inclusive practices and advocate for positive change.