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By ESPN Staff

FA bans homophobic chanting

Homophobic chanting is to be explicitly banned at football stadiums for the first time, it emerged today.

The move is part of a drive by the Football Association to stamp out the problem at matches.

Currently, ground regulations merely warn that 'racial and other discrimination' can lead to ejection, or even arrest if it is sufficiently serious.

But a spokeswoman for the FA said today the rules were being modified specifically to mention homophobic behaviour.

All Premier League and Football League clubs have signed up to the new regulations, which come into force at the start of next season.

'Traditionally, the rules were there to police racism at football matches,' the spokeswoman said.

'But homophobic abuse was something that has been highlighted to us, and we are taking a strong stand against it.

She added: 'It was implicit in the rules, but now it's absolutely clear.'

Sports minister Richard Caborn also backed action by clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur, who have introduced a hotline for fans to report any incidents of abuse.

In a written Parliamentary answer, Mr Caborn said: 'I welcome measures such as this and hope that all football clubs will follow suit.'