Prior to England Women winning the Cricket World Cup, England footballer Carly Telford was interviewed by the BBC and wished her cricket-playing partner good luck.
The relationship between the two women is well-known, but the casual nature of the interview highlights how progressive the women’s game is compared to how men’s football is portrayed.
— Jo Currie (@JoCurrie) July 23, 2017
I don’t think anyone bat an eyelid as it is a well-known relationship in women’s football. Homosexuality is not a taboo subject either, with many players and fans being members of the LGBT community.
Any homophobic fan watching any of the women’s game on regular basis is certainly knocking at the wrong door.
We all know that kind of interview would not happen in the men’s game. You cannot see a Premier League player coming out in support for his boyfriend playing in the Cricket World Cup Final.
There is homophobia and a real intolerance among a vocal minority of that will prevent this from happening unless the FA and respective club start dishing serious punishments.
The FA has a policy against homophobia and transphobia, but I think things should go further. Homophobic fans should be automatically ejected from a game as soon as they make an offensive comment and banned for many, many years.
Such comments have no place in football or in the street. I know it would not be easy to catch all the offenders, especially if a full stand start singing songs, but you can still catch a few offenders. So slap them with a long ban.
If examples are made of those showcasing unacceptable behaviour, it might have a positive effect. A simple slap on the wrist will not help at all. There is also the social media problem that needs to be eradicated.
There’s a lot of work needed to see the likes of Facebook and Twitter to take the problem seriously, and unless social media adopt a strong policy instead of hiding behind their freedom of speech rubbish, things will not change.