Brighton & Hove Albion have confirmed that three people, including two home fans and one away supporter, were ejected from the Amex Stadium and then arrested for homophobic and racist abuse during the game against Chelsea on New Year’s Day.
The club has explained that all three were separate incidents.
One Brighton fan removed over racist abuse of Chelsea players and another removed for homophobic abuse directed at Chelsea fans. The visiting Chelsea supporter was ejected for aiming homophobic abuse at Brighton fans.
📝 Two home supporters and one visiting supporter were ejected from the Amex and subsequently arrested, for three separate incidents of unacceptable abuse during yesterday’s match against Chelsea.#BHAFC 🔵⚪️— Brighton & Hove Albion ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC) January 2, 2020
As a result, Sussex Police made three arrests and each of the individuals now face prosecution.
It is implied that lifetime bans will be issued by the club, but Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has questioned whether that is enough of a punishment to deter people from engaging in such appalling behaviour, given the recent wave of similar incidents at Premier League stadiums.
“If the prospect of a life ban from watching their clubs play football isn’t a strong enough deterrent, we have to ask the question as to whether the courts should be given the power to hand out more severe punishments?” Barber commented in a Brighton statement.
“Football can only do so much, and we are sick and tired of the game’s reputation being tarnished by these people,” he added, urging higher authorities to do more.
“I find it impossible to comprehend how and why some individuals think it's acceptable to behave in this way, and yet again I will make it very clear that neither Brighton & Hove Albion nor the wider football community, will tolerate racism, homophobia, or any other form of discrimination at any time.”
Barber further pledged Brighton’s commitment to taking the ‘strongest possible action’ against any perpetrators of abuse and urged fans confronted by such behaviour to report it.