January 24, (THEWILL) – Three men have been arrested by Merseyside Police for alleged homophobic chanting during an English Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea last Saturday.
The men, aged 23, 37, and 49, were arrested on suspicion of “homophobic intentional harassment, alarm and distress.” The 37-year-old suspect has been bailed pending further enquiries, while the other two will attend a voluntary interview.
In a statement, Merseyside Police revealed that 16 people were ejected from Anfield for various offences during the match. The Football Association (FA) announced earlier this month that it can now charge clubs if their fans use homophobic chants that have been aimed at Chelsea players and supporters.
The chant was defined as a hate crime by the Crown Prosecution Service last year, with Chelsea welcoming the decision at the time. The FA has also investigated homophobic chants from supporters of Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, and Manchester City in recent weeks.
Superintendent Paul Sutcliffe of Merseyside Police said, “We’ll not tolerate hate crime of any form. We’ll bring to justice anyone found responsible for committing any offensive chanting. In this instance, if the three suspects are charged and found guilty for the offence, then we will be seeking football banning orders on them.”