Cristiano Ronaldo anti-gay chants in Clasico vs. Barcelona denounced
La Liga has condemned anti-gay chants aimed at Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo during Saturday's Clasico at the Camp Nou after a group which tackles discrimination in Spain asked the government to take action.
The Observatorio Espanol contra la LGTBfobia (StopLGBTfobia) asked the government to act against individuals they say made anti-gay chants during the minute's silence held before the game to honour Barca legend Johan Cruyff, who died last month.
La Liga on Tuesday said in a statement that it will send a report to the Spanish government's committee against violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in sport.
The chants were not included in the referee's report on the game, and neither Ronaldo nor his club have spoken about the issue. However, StopLGBTfobia director Francisco Ramirez said in a statement that action should be taken to deal with abuse which is a widespread occurrence in Spanish grounds.
"These lamentable and shameful actions are punishable under the Sport Law of 2007," Ramirez said.
"These are nothing new in Spanish stadiums, where for years players and referees have often been insulted using homophobic terms, without there being any public or exemplary punishment. This ends up continuing the presence of homophobia in Spanish football."
El Observatorio Español contra la LGTBfobia denuncia al Barcelona por insultos homófobos https://t.co/Jq0MPn3gI4- StopLGBTfobia (@StopLGBTfobia) April 4, 2016
Ramirez claimed that Ronaldo was regularly the subject of anti-gay abuse and insinuations, from opposition fans and also journalists who attempt to insult and denigrate the Portugal captain.
"For months, Ronaldo is the continuous object of insults and malintentioned rumours in the tabloid and sensationalist press, but also from sports reporters, players and fans of rival teams, with the goal of humiliating, offending and denigrating a great player," he said.
"It is evident that the use of sexual orientation as a weapon has the objective of insulting and degrading. In the past this happened with other players who were harassed and insulted in the same way, like [former Barca player and coach Pep] Guardiola and [ex-Madrid midfielders] Guti and Michel.
"Neither then nor now has there been action to end this stain on the sport. It is necessary to clarify that homophobia does not necessarily mean that the individuals who suffer it are homosexuals. Rather that other people believe they are, or use it to insult, harass and humiliate."
Spain's Anti-Violence Commission in Sport was established in 2007 to deal with problems of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, and in recent years has started to punish individuals who make racist chants or gesture during games.
La Liga formally denounced Madrid fans who chanted "Messi subnormal" at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in last November's Clasico, and also Barcelona fans who sang "Cristiano is a drunk" during a game against Levante at the Camp Nou in February 2015.
StopLGBTfobia says the authorities have not even acknowledged that anti-gay abuse is an actual problem in football.
"It is incomprehensible that there is a double standard when it comes to intolerance in sport," Ramirez said. "Action is taken quickly in cases of racism or xenophobia, but the biggest intolerance at this moment in football is homophobia, and this is being ignored.
"It is worrying that the word homophobia does not explicitly appear in the name of the anti-violence commission, as if it were shameful to name it and compare it to other forms of violence and intolerance, and is more comfortable for some people to camouflage it within the general name of intolerance."
The statement also talks of the case of openly gay referee Jesus Tomillero, 21, who has suffered anti-gay abuse while taking charge of youth games, and who it is claimed was warned recently by the refereeing authorities after talking to the media.