The English Football Association on Thursday warned clubs that they face a potential disciplinary charge if their fans sing a chant about Chelsea players that is offensive to the LGBTQ community.
Chelsea’s recent matches against Nottingham Forest and Manchester City were marred by the “rent boy” chant, which was also heard at the FA Cup tie between Manchester United and Everton, whose manager is former Blues boss Frank Lampard.
What is a rent boy?
A rent boy is a term used to describe a young male prostitute who specifically sells sex to other men.
It’s long been directed at Chelsea players because of the London borough’s past status as a LGBTQ hotspot in the 1960s and 70s.
Chelsea developed a reputation as a location where young male prostitutes would meet men for sex.
While the FA has always condemned the use of the chant, it has never felt able to charge clubs over its use in the past.
However, an FA statement said: “Today, the FA has formally written to all clubs across the Premier League, EFL, National League, Women’s Super League, Women’s Championship and Steps 2-4, to remind them that it can pursue formal disciplinary action against any club whose supporters engage in discriminatory behaviour, now including the use of the term ‘rent boy’.
“This important step follows the recent successful prosecution of an individual by the Crown Prosecution Service for homophobic abuse, specifically relating to the term ‘rent boy’.”
Meanwhile, the Football Association will investigate alleged incidents of homophobic chanting by City fans.
“We strongly condemn the use of the term ‘rent boy’ and we are determined to drive it out of our game,” an FA spokesperson said.
“We continue to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as the UK Football Policing Unit, in relation to the use of this term.”
— with AFP