A Spanish gay rights group has filed a complaint alleging that superstar soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo was subjected to homophobic abuse by Barcelona fans during a match last weekend.
The group, StopLGBTfobia, called on Spain’s State Commission against Violence in Sport to act after anti-gay chants, including the offensive gay slur “maricon”, were aimed at Cristiano by the crowd.
The director of StopLGBTfobia, Francisco Ramirez, slammed the abusive fans and defended the player.
“These deplorable and shameful acts are punishable according to the law of sport,” he said in a statement.
“Cristiano Ronaldo has frequently been the object of insults and malicious rumours regarding his sexual orientation, all aiming to humiliate, offend and denigrate a great football player.
“These lamentable and shameful actions are punishable under the Sport Law of 2007.”
Ramirez also said that action should be taken to deal with homophobic abuse which is widespread in Spanish football grounds.
“Homophobia does not necessarily mean that people who suffer are homosexual―but that other people believe it or use it to insult, harass and humiliate others.”
The State Commission can impose punishments on clubs and supporters who are found guilty of such offences.
But Cristiano had the last laugh against the crowd, as he scored the winning goal for his team Real Madrid, beating Barcelona 2-1.
The player has long been the subject of gay rumours in the past and has been voted a gay icon by several queer media outlets. He once said, “I’m at ease with my sexuality so it’s not a problem for me.”