Hatters issue statement over homophobic chanting allegations
Luton Town have issued a club statement over allegations of homophobic chanting during the 2-1 win at Leyton Orient last weekend.
Although no supporters reported any such offences to police officers or spectators during the game, an email sent to Kick it Out after the match led to the Hatters being contacted by some media outlets about the behaviour of a small number of visiting spectators.
Luton have promised to ban any fans who are proved to have taken part in any such discriminatory chanting as the statement on Town’s official club website said: “Following Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two match between Leyton Orient and Luton Town at the Matchroom Stadium, the club was contacted by the media to respond to allegations that a small number of Luton Town fans made homophobic chants towards people occupying the flats that form part of the stadium.
“Luton Town take such allegations very seriously and were extremely disappointed to learn of these allegations which can tarnish the reputation of our club. We do not wish to be associated with anyone who believes such actions are acceptable.
“The club immediately contacted Leyton Orient and have been working closely with them to determine the facts and sequence of events at the time of the chanting. Both clubs will co-operate fully with the ongoing police enquiries into the incident.
“Unfortunately, the chanting was not reported by any spectator to police officers or stewards on duty at the time. The incident was brought to everyone’s attention by an email sent to Kick It Out via their incident reporting system, and this in turn has led to the FA launching their own investigation into the events, asking each club to submit their observations. The police are also undertaking their own series of enquiries.
“With the incident not being reported to anyone within the stadium at the time, it makes retrospectively identifying and punishing any individual or group of individuals very difficult.
“Each club has received observations from supporters and from these communications it would appear that some good natured exchanges between Luton fans and the occupants of the flats strayed into totally unacceptable homophobic chants.
“There can be absolutely no excuse for discriminatory chanting or gesturing of any kind. Football as a whole works extremely hard to eradicate such instances with Kick It Out doing an excellent job in leading the way against such behaviour.
“Luton Town Football Club are fully supportive of the tremendous work that Kick It Out carries out within football and will be hosting a Kick It Out action day later in the season. Discrimination of any sort is completely unacceptable and has no place within football, certainly not in any connection with Luton Town.
“If any Luton Town supporter is proven to have taken part in any form of discrimination they can expect to be banned from attending matches at Kenilworth Road.
“Any supporter, should they see or hear of any such behaviour should inform a steward or club official in order that action can be taken against the culprit immediately.
“The exchanges between rival fans have always been part of football and can, at times, be very humorous, but they can also sometimes be unwelcome and offensive.
“We urge all fans to fully support their team without resorting to abusive or discriminatory chanting and to support the police and stewards in their efforts to eradicate this unnecessary practice.”
Meanwhile, a statement on the O’s official website read: The police will continue to work closely with Luton police, and throughout the investigation will keep both clubs informed of any developments.
“Leyton Orient Football Club prides itself as a club for the community, and supports the FA’s Football v Homophobia campaign.
“We believe in a fair and equal game, regardless of protected characteristics and will continue to support such initiatives with the help of the Fans for Diversity Hub at the Matchroom Stadium, which was unveiled at the start of the season with the aim of creating a comfortable and enjoyable environment for supporters from all backgrounds.
“Homophobic or discriminatory chanting has no place at Leyton Orient Football Club and offenders will be dealt with in accordance with regulations.”