Anti-racism chief Piara Powar condemns homophobic banner at Sarajevo derby
Piara Powar, the executive director of the Football Against Racism in Europe network, has condemned a homophobic banner on display at the Sarajevo derby in Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday.
A large banner, which made reference to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in a homophobic manner, was held up on one half of a curve of the Olympic Stadium Asim Ferhatovic-Hase during FK Zeljeznicar’s clash with FK Sarajevo.
Images of the match showed a large presence of stewards and police, none of whom appeared to challenge the banner, prompting Powar, formerly a director at Kick it Out, to deplore the actions of the supporters and urge the Bosnian authorities to act.
“This choreography was one of the worst displays of homophobia we have seen this season, which may be a source of pride for the people responsible for it but it may also mark a watershed moment,” said Powar.
“The rules of football are clear, acts of discrimination are to be challenged and sanctioned, we will be contacting the Bosnian FA and the Bosnian government asking them to do just that.
“National sporting events cannot be the means of spreading hate; the people of Sarajevo know that better than most others.
“In the meantime, we stand alongside the victims of this act, the LGBT community in Bosnia, in defying hatred and calling for tolerance and inclusion.”
From the Guardian