OutRage! pans UK football player

Dylan Vox | October 16, 2006

Paul Scholes
LONDON — Manchester United midfielder, Paul Scholes, is continuting to come under fire from gay rights group OutRage! after an alleged homophobic slur during a match against SL Benefica in Portugal. Referee Frank De Bleeckere issued Scholes a yellow card after an illegal tackle was made on another player.

The yellow card, which acts as a warning for inappropriate conduct during a game, prompted Scholes to call the referee a �fucking poof� which activists found to be a derogatory homosexual insult.

The match was televised and the comment was clearly visibly to a wide television audience prompting Peter Tatchell, a prominent gay activist who was watching the game to take action. Tatchell is a founding member of OutRage! A gay rights group dedicated to exposing and stopping homophobic injustices. It was established in 1990 and has been a leader in the gay rights movement in England by organizing protests and anti discrimination rallies.

In a statement about the incident Tatchell said, �We urge Paul to apologize and to express his opposition to homophobia. No player, referee or fan should have to endure abuse about their race or sexuality.�

The head of the Football Association (FA), Brian Barwick has thus far refused to comment stating that the violation is outside his jurisdiction, Tatchell explains. However investigations of alleged homophobic behavior are apart of the FA�s responsibility as the sports governing body.

The FA has deferred comment to the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) who FA says is directly responsible for taking care of the situation. UEFA representatives in turn claim that they are just waiting to collect reports from the referee and the organization�s representatives at the match before deciding how or whether to address the incident. As for now, Scholes is unlikely to face any official sanctions unless the incident is actually reported by the referee.

In ten years as a first team player at Manchester United, Paul Scholes has won six Premiership titles, three F.A. Cups, the European Cup, and the Inter-Continental Cup, amongst many other personal accolades. Although Scholes has offered no public appology, representitves for the player have said that the comments meant no ill will and were made in the heat of the game. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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