Blankenstein Foundation wants action after homophobic talking points: ‘Never put down player’
The John Blankenstein Foundation, the foundation that advocates the acceptance of gays and lesbians in both top and grassroots sports, is questioning the KNVB’s policy on homophobic verbal chants in soccer stadiums. During the premier league match FC Volendam-PSV on Sunday, part of the home crowd shouted such expressions toward PSV’s Xavi Simons without taking action.
“We find it strange that while there is policy from the KNVB when it comes to anti-Semitic and racist speech choruses, nothing is done when homo-unfriendly slogans are chanted from the stands,” said Thijs Smeenk on behalf of the John Blankenstein Foundation. “We know that the KNVB is working on it in the background. For now, however, we don’t see any change and/or improvement.”
According to the Football Association’s Guidelines on Combating Verbal Violence, a referee can only stop a match when persistent verbal abuse causes the offended parties to become unable to function and the conduct of the match is seriously compromised.
That you don’t hurt anyone with homophobic speaking cries is, of course, sheer nonsense.
According to Smeenk, the intangible aspect of homophobia may underlie the lack of active action by the KNVB. “When you scold someone of color or shout that all Jews should be put to the gas, that is not open to multiple interpretations. That does appear to be the case with insulting texts about someone’s sexual orientation. While there is essentially no difference in the two cases.”
“There is often a condescending cry that you don’t hurt anyone with homophobic proclamations,” Smeenk continued. “That is of course pure nonsense. It hurts players who, because of the macho culture in soccer, are still secretly in the closet. The same goes for homosexuals sitting in the stands of the stadium or watching the game on television at home on the couch.”
Smeenk thinks it is time for the KNVB to finally intervene. “We advocate stopping a match once as soon as homo-unfriendly slogans can be heard in a stadium. This is to make it clear that this does affect people, even if they keep their mouths shut out of fear.”
“As long as no action is taken under the guise that you just can’t put salt on every nail and not whine about everything, this unacceptable behavior will not be stopped. The problem is that people have no clue how much such proclamations affect you when you are homosexual.”
Smeenk recalls that during the semi-final of the KNVB Cup, when PSV faced Spakenburg, Simons was also a target of abusive language.
“There the referee did not intervene because he asked Simons himself if he was bothered by the verbal abuse. That is a wrong course of action. Of course, you should never put the question of whether a match is stopped for that reason down to a player. The referee decides whether a match is stopped, not a player who in this case is 19 years old.”
For Smeenk, it is clear: “The league must finally take responsibility. And if it doesn’t, the home playing club can always intervene.”
The club did not want to respond to questions from NOS about the proclamations heard in the stands at FC Volendam this weekend.