Brazilian authorities to investigate homophobic chants in Série A match23 September 2014

Brazil’sSuperiorCourtofSportingJustice (STJD)willinvestigatetheallegedhomophobicchantsperformedbyCorinthiansandSãoPaulofansatlastSunday’s(21September) clashbetweenthetwosides,thetribunalannouncedyesterday.

During the Brazilian Série A round 23 derby, at the Arena Corinthians, fans of the home team allegedly shouted homophobic remarks at São Paulo goalkeeper Denis de Matos.

São Paulo fans, who ahead of the match announced a new song of homophobic nature mentioning several former Corinthians players, also reportedly performed homophobic chants.

Anti-homophobia manifesto
Earlier this month, the Série A five times champion Corinthians published an anti-discrimination manifesto calling for an end of racist and homophobic abusive language.

The appeal to fans was made days before the fixture against the arch-rivals São Paulo, following a previous incident in March 2014, in which a group of Corinthians fans shouted homophobic abuse at São Paulo goalkeeper Rogério Ceni.

On the initiative the STJD General-Prosecutor Paulo Schmitt said: “I hope clubs will pay more attention to this issue from now on. I will. Discriminatory chanting can lead to sanctions”.

Homophobic chants at Grêmio v Santos
Days before the São Paulo derby another Brazilian Série A fixture was marred by homophobic chanting. During the match between Grêmio and Santos, on 18 September, the home team fans directed homophobic slurs at Santos goalkeeper Aranha.

The incident happened 21 days after the Brazilian cup first leg tie between the two sides, in which Grêmio fans racially abused Aranha.

The team from Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, was consequently banned from playing in the competition and fined €17,100 for fans’ racism.

In a post-match interview Aranha said: “I try to do my job the best I can. It is very sad to realise Grêmio fans consent and admit these type of actions [abuse].”.

According to the Brazilian lawyer João Chiminazzo, expert in Sports Justice, in an interview to news website O Povo, a club can be sanctioned for homophobia based on the Brasilian Code of Sports Justice 243-G article on discrimination.

Nevertheless, because homophobia is not yet considered a crime under the Brasilian legislation fans would not necessarily be charged.

Brazilian LGBT fan groups fear stadiums’ hostile environment
In 2013, a number of LGBT fan groups were founded in Brazil through social media to counter homophobia and sexism and promote diversity in football. Palmeiras Livre of Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, Bambi Tricolor of São Paulo and Galo Queer of Atlético-MG, were some of these.

In a recent interview to BBC Brazil representatives of several LGBT fan groups have admitted to fear the ‘hostile and oppressive’ environment of stadiums in Brazil, which has not allowed yet these movements to attend matches in collective and organised way.

“A football game affects your feelings and emotions, and so you commonly see disproportional demonstrations of sexism, racism, homophobia.”

“This is extremely oppressive. I am gay and I don’t hide it. However, in a football stadium the situation is different because you can be assaulted” said William, who did not disclose his last name in the interview for safety reasons.

Nathália founder of Galo Queer said: “[Going to stadiums] is not possible. It still very complicated to go to the stadiums displaying LGBT symbols. If on the internet we are threatened, you can only imagine what would happen in a stadium”.