Three fans have been arrested over three separate incidents of “unacceptable behavior” during Wednesday’s match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea.
Two Brighton fans and one Chelsea fan were ejected from the Amex, Brighton’s home stadium, for hurling abuse at both players and opposing supporters. In a statement on the club website, Brighton confirmed that one of its fans was ejected for “racist abuse of Chelsea players” and the other was arrested for “homophobic abuse aimed at Chelsea supporters.” The Chelsea fan was ejected for homophobic abuse aimed at Brighton supporters.
Following their ejection, all three players were arrested by Sussex Police and are awaiting prosecution. Brighton wouldn’t comment further on the fans or what allegedly transpired at the game due to the ongoing investigation, but chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber affirmed Brighton’s commitment to eradicating this kind of fan behavior.
“If the prospect of a life ban from watching their clubs play football isn’t a strong enough deterrent, we have to ask the question as to whether the courts should be given the power to hand out more severe punishments? Football can only do so much, and we are sick and tired of the game’s reputation being tarnished by these people.
"I find it impossible to comprehend how and why some individuals think it's acceptable to behave in this way, and yet again I will make it very clear that neither Brighton & Hove Albion nor the wider football community, will tolerate racism, homophobia, or any other form of discrimination at any time.”
Professional soccer has been beset by numerous racist and homophobic acts by fans over the past year. While measures have been put in place to help deter this behavior, Barber and others believe that the current punishments are not harsh enough to truly stop racist and homophobic chants from fans.
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