French ref halts Ligue 2 game in Nancy to stop homophobic chanting

August 19 – French Ligue 2 match between AS Nancy and Le Mans was halted by the referee following homophobic chanting by a section of fans.

In the 27th minute referee Medi Mokhtari halted the game at Nancy’s Stade Marcel Picot over what he perceived to be homophobic chants. It is the first time a referee has taken such decisive action against an incident of this nature. The game was resumed a minute later.

Players went over to their fans to ask them to stop, while the stadium announcer warned the game would be suspended.

“These songs have no place in a football stadium,” said Nancy president Jean-Michel Roussier after the match.

Mokhtari’s actions were praised by sports minister Roxana Maracineanu. She also praised the LFP, the league’s governing body. “I extend my congratulations to referee Mehdi Mokhtari and the delegate of the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionnel) Alain Marseille who took their responsibilities and decided to interrupt the football match between Nancy and Le Mans for homophobic insults,” tweeted Maracineanu. “It’s a first. And a last, I hope.”

Marlene Schiappa, France’s gender equality minister, tweeted: “Congratulations to referee Mehdi Mokhtari for having bravely interrupted the match against homophobic songs sung at Nancy-Le Mans. Football is an exciting sport. It must remain so for all.”

On Wednesday the LFP’s disciplinary commission will study the match and consider whether further sanctions are appropriate. “Delegates and referees apply disciplinary rules against discriminations,” said the LFP. “Last April, LFP launched a global action against homophobia in stadiums.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1585576473labto1585576473ofdlr1585576473owedi1585576473sni@o1585576473fni1585576473