Lancashire

Radcliffe physio 'faced homophobic abuse' from Lancaster fans

Mary Priestner Image copyright Mary Priestner
Image caption Mary Priestner said she wanted to raise awareness of abuse in sport

A football club physio says she was spat at and subjected to "shocking" sexist and homophobic abuse from opposition fans.

Radcliffe FC's Mary Priestner was abused by Lancaster City fans during a Lancashire Cup fixture on Tuesday.

She said she was targeted because of her LGBT-supporting rainbow laces and was sworn at and told to "get back to the kitchen".

It was reported to the referee and the Lancashire FA is investigating.

The 26-year-old, who is from Manchester, tweeted about the abuse following Lancaster City's 2-0 victory at their Giant Axe ground.

She said a group of about five supporters had been shouting abuse at Radcliffe's managers and players before turning on her after she went on to the pitch to treat a player.

She was wearing boots with multi-coloured laces, in support of LGBT charity Stonewall's annual Rainbow Laces campaign.

'Banging on dugout'

She said she was "shocked" and had to be comforted by colleagues on the bench, but despite reporting it to the referee at half-time, the abuse escalated in the second half.

After Lancaster City scored a second goal, she said the men "were banging on the dugout, waving arms at me and screaming".

"I stood up to get away and then two different men spat at me."

The referee then stepped in and the men were moved to another part of the ground for the remainder of the match.

She said what happened was "disgusting" and it "genuinely made me totally rethink my career choices".

"This behaviour is unacceptable and needs to be addressed," she said.

"It's not acceptable in life, let alone in sport, yet some people think they can get away with it."

She added that she was going to report the incident to Lancashire Police as a hate crime.

A Lancashire FA spokesman said the organisation had been "made aware of an allegation of discrimination" which it was investigating.

Lancaster City and Radcliffe have been approached for comment.

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