Manchester

Village Manchester FC: FA probes reports of homophobic abuse

Rob McPherson playing for the Village Manchester football team Image copyright Steve Joyce
Image caption Village Manchester FC was first formed in 1996

The FA is investigating after a team comprised of many gay players complained of "toxic" homophobic abuse from an opposing side.

Village Manchester FC players said Chadderton Park Firsts subjected them to "appalling" homophobic verbal abuse during the match on 11 January.

Village Manchester chairman James McNaught described it as "outrageous".

Terry Jennings, chairman of Chadderton, said "five idiots" had "tarnished the good name of our club".

The club claims it suffered a dozen homophobic incidents last season and has formally complained to the FA about similar problems this season. The club wants tougher sanctions to stop such "appalling behaviour".

Mr McNaught said that during the match in Oldham, Chadderton players had "chanted" the words of the disco anthem YMCA at his team while in the dressing rooms and that one man was told: "get up you fairy", after being injured in a tackle.

Image copyright VMFC
Image caption Village Manchester FC describes itself as "a gay/bi/straight inclusive club that welcomes anyone who loves football"

"It was the most toxic game I have ever been involved in," Mr McNaught said.

"Their behaviour was appalling and the incredible thing was that they were winning when it all kicked off in the last 20 minutes.

"Some in the crowd were also shouting lots of sexual abuse. It was outrageous.

"There were two red cards and three or four yellow cards as the game descended into chaos. There were lots of bad tackles."

'Devastated'

Village Manchester FC was formed in 1996. On its website it says it "is a gay/bi/straight inclusive club that welcomes anyone who loves football".

Chadderton Park has 92 teams in all, including sides aimed specifically for those players with a disability.

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has also played for their veteran side but is not connected with the First team.

Chairman Terry Jennings said: "We are devastated that one of our teams has behaved in this way.

"We even have an LGBT flag flying over clubhouse."

An FA spokesman confirmed Manchester Football Association was "aware of and investigating alleged discrimination" at the game.

Chadderton Park has meanwhile suspended its First team.

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