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Wolves fans arrested for alleged homophobic abuse during Brighton match

By Richard Guttridge | Wolves | Published:

Two Wolves fans were arrested on suspicion of homophobic abuse during Sunday's game at Brighton.

The Premier League supported the Rainbow Laces campaign this weekend. Photo: AMA

Sussex Police has launched an investigation into the alleged abuse, which has been condemned by Wolves.

The incident came on the weekend the Premier League dedicated to supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign which promotes LGBT inclusion in sport.

Rainbow coloured flags and banners were on show as the two teams came onto the field at Brighton's Amex Stadium, while the home supporters held coloured cards aloft.

Clubs and players across the Premier League backed the campaign over the weekend.

The Sussex force confirmed two men, from Bridgnorth, had been arrested following reports of homophobic gestures during the 2-2 draw and that they had been released as the investigation continues.

A spokesman said: "Two football fans were arrested following reports of homophobic gestures made at the Amex Stadium on Sunday, December 8.

"The suspects – both away fans during Brighton and Hove Albion’s match against Wolverhampton Wanderers – were identified by club stewards and arrested on suspicion of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

"The two men – aged 46 and 48, and both from Bridgnorth in Shropshire – have been released under investigation pending further inquiries."

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Wolves said in a statement: "Wolves can confirm that there were two arrests for homophobic abuse at yesterday’s game against Brighton & Hove Albion.

"There is no room in football or society for discrimination of any kind, and the club strongly condemns such behaviour.

"Our ethos at Wolves is about being ‘One Pack’ - an attitude our supporters are very passionate about and that extends to our relationships across the football community, regardless of rivalries on the pitch.

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"The club is now offering its support to Sussex Police in what is a criminal investigation."

Brighton’s chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber told the club’s official website: “It’s both sad and depressing that once again we find ourselves having to address another situation of discriminatory abuse.

“Prior to kick-off, we had a huge show of support for the Rainbow Laces campaign brilliantly backed by the vast majority of people inside the stadium, and yet before the game is over, we are forced to deal with these two individuals, who think it’s okay to behave in this way.

“Working with Sussex Police, I’m pleased to report that once again our staff were able to take swift action, which hopefully will increase the chances of a conviction. We simply won’t stand for it at the Amex.

“Once again, it’s very hard to comprehend why some individuals think it’s acceptable to behave in this way, but we are very clear that neither Brighton and Hove Albion, nor the wider football community, will tolerate homophobia or discrimination at any time, in any form.

“We would urge any fans confronted with similar discriminatory behaviour to report it immediately, either directly to a steward or via our anonymous hotline, and we will take strong action.”

It was another incident which marred the weekend's action after a Manchester City supporter was arrested for alleged racist abuse during the derby with Manchester United.

Everton are also investigating reports of homophobic chanting aimed at Chelsea fans during the Toffees’ 3-1 victory at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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