In an official communiqué coming from Montpellier’s public prosecutor’s office, police have opened an investigation into banners shown by MHSC ultras during this weekend’s Ligue 1 match against FC Nantes. Individuals are being investigated under “public insults on the grounds of sexual orientation” as well as “the introduction, possession, and use of rockets or fireworks in a sporting arena,” and “throwing of a projectile which endangers the safety of persons.”
Sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra earlier today denounced banners shown during the match against Nantes, which was disrupted by fireworks and projectiles thrown onto the pitch. “The strongest condemnation of these images, these words, these homophobic acts which must disappear from football and sport. Their perpetrators must be identified, punished and kept away from our stadiums for good,” she said on Twitter, with a photo of the banners held up by Montpellier’s ultras.
The first image shows the first banner, which reads “An entourage of sons of b****. A performance worthy of a reserve team, F*** you all”. The second banner is where language of a homophobic nature is mobilised by the ultra group, reading “You don’t give a sh*t, team full of F**** .”
This Monday morning, the spokesman for the group of supporters behind the banner tried to justify that the message was “not homophobic in any way“, but that the ultras’ intention was to “denounce the lack of courage and reaction of the players“. when contacted by France Bleu Hérault, regrets a “political recuperation” in an “sterile” world and deplores “the proportions that this affair is taking, in view of much more serious issues in the news“.
Meanwhile, in another statement, MHSC dissociated itself from its supporters and “condemns in the strongest possible terms the homophobic remarks“. The club does not rule out filing a complaint, and explains that “banners to express the discontent of the supporters had been authorised“, but that this kind of language “cannot be tolerated”.
The club are expecting to close the stand that holds the ultras for the next two matches.
GFFN | George Boxall