Three fans arrested for alleged homophobic and racist abuse at Brighton v Chelsea

Soccer Football - Premier League - Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea - The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain - January 1, 2020 Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga makes a save REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

(Reuters) - Three fans were arrested for alleged “unacceptable abuse” during Brighton & Hove Albion’s 1-1 home draw against Chelsea in the Premier League on New Year’s Day, the south coast-based Premier League club said on Thursday.

Brighton have confirmed here two home fans were ejected from the Amex Stadium - one for alleged racist abuse of Chelsea players and one for suspected homophobic abuse aimed at travelling supporters.

The Chelsea fan was removed for alleged homophobic abuse of home fans. All three were arrested by Sussex Police outside the stadium and now face prosecution.

“Yet again our safety and stewarding team, along with Sussex Police, have had to deal with three separate and unwanted instances of disgusting racist and homophobic abuse,” Brighton’s chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber said.

“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?

“Football can only do so much, and we are sick and tired of the game’s reputation being tarnished by these people.”

Incidents of racism have affected several Premier League games this season, including another Brighton match last month when two Wolverhampton Wanderers fans were arrested during a 2-2 draw between the two teams at Amex Stadium.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge