The sports minister condemns, elected officials are outraged, and justice opens an investigation

After Montpellier’s next heavy defeat to Nantes, the “sporting performance” at home is less commented on than the coup of the ultra supporters in the stands. Their player-bashing and homophobic banners are getting reactions at all levels. The prosecutor’s office has started an investigation.

The alleged banners were placed by the ultras of the MHSC, thus intending to protest against the disastrous results of Montpellier in January, especially the 6-1 thrashing in Nice and close to the relegation zone four days earlier.

Among the offensive messages were two banners reading “Team Human” and “Y’all go screw yourselves…”.
In addition to this action, the Montpellier ultras left their stands in the first 15 minutes of the match against Nantes and threw smoke bombs on the pitch before returning, causing the match to be stopped.

Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra condemned “homophobic acts” this Monday and called for sanctions following Sunday’s banners raised by ultras.
“We condemn these images, these words, these homophobic actions in the strongest possible terms, and they must be removed from football and sports”Tweeted the minister, reproducing photos taken at the Mosson stadium ahead of this meeting, which is scheduled for the 19th day of L1.

Their culprits must be identified, punished and permanently banned from stadiums.

Amelie Oudea-Castera, Minister of Sports.

No word from Montpellier football club until 12:20 on Monday. During the post-match press conference, head coach Romain Pitau let himself go and said: “The fans are not happy, it’s up to them. I saw a very brave Montpellier team”. He answers the journalist’s question about floods and future sanctions “I don’t think it was a partial closed session, there were smoke bombs, but it stopped very quickly”.

Did he see the banners? If so, he was used to this kind of abuse during matches, what was he thinking? Mystery.

Faced with a media frenzy, the MHSC finally issued an official press release at 12:20 PM on Monday.

“The MHSC condemns in the strongest possible terms the homophobic statements made in some of the banners placed in the stands during the MHSC-FC Nantes”.

If “fan displeasure” banners are allowed in the context of complex sports, then under no circumstances will such remarks be tolerated.

MHSC press release this Monday at 12:20 p.m.

There is no doubt that the Federation will take up the matter and probably sanction the club.

At the same time, the public prosecutor of Montpellier started work and announced the beginning of the investigation.

“Following the facts committed during the 1st Ligue 1 football match “Montpellier-Nantes” on January 15, 2023, the public prosecutor of the Montpellier court opened today and on his own initiative an investigation into the public insults of the leaders. sexual orientation, the introduction, possession and use of rockets or fireworks in the sports arena, and the grounds for throwing projectiles that endanger the safety of people in the sports arena” Fabrice Belargent explains.

The forensic investigation was entrusted to Hérault’s departmental security.

The banners were also condemned on Twitter by Michaël Delafosse, deputy mayor of Montpellier PS in charge of sports. “angry” with these “vulgar and homophobic insults”. “I hope that sanctions will be applied”he added.

Network comment

LGBTQ+ associations regularly denounce all these homophobic facts in sports fields in France.

The Montpellier club has been working on the problem for a long time with interventions and awareness campaigns for players, managers and supporters.

And there are many who condemn these homophobic slurs and/or attacks every week.

Montpellier lost 3-0 again late in the match and are 15th in Ligue 1, just two points ahead of relegated Brest. The next match is in Auxerre on January 29.

Posted by AFP.

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