Following Grêmio expulsion from the country’s main cup for fans’ racism, concerns were raised by club officials that the ‘Timão’, how it’s commonly known, could be targeted next by the Brazilian authorities.
Since January 2014, nine incidents of discriminatory nature have been noted in the country’s football, one of which, in March, included homophobic chants from a group of Corinthians fans to São Paulo’s goalkeeper Rogério Ceni.
Three complaints on the incident were taken to court, but São Paulo’s Court of Sports Justice dismissed the allegations of homophobia considering the word non-offensive.
‘Homophobia is against the Corinthians DNA’
The manifesto launched on 12 September read: “This is a people’s club. Made for and by people. Since 1910, we have been fighting elitism and racism. We’ve always been pioneers on what regards to social inclusion. Here there’s no rich or poor, no black or white. Here we all Corinthians.
“On the terraces and on the pitch, we fight for equality until the end. And here, we don’t have and can’t have homophobia. Put an end to the ‘bicha’ chant during the opposing team’s goalkeeper goal kick. Because homophobia is not only against the principle of equality that lies deep in the Corinthians DNA, but also can jeopardize the club”.
The homophobic abuse commonly shouted in some central and South American footballing countries came under scrutiny during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when Mexican and Brazilian supporters were heard chanting the derogatory term.
On the initiative, the Brazilian Sports Justice Tribunal General-Prosecutor Paulo Schmitt said: “I hope clubs will pay more attention to this issue from now on. I will. Discriminatory chanting can lead to sanctions’.
Presidential candidates discuss LGBT rights
The discussion around homophobia in Brazil has recently been brought back to the agenda with the Presidential candidates campaigns focusing on the LGBT community and gay rights.
After the Brazilian Socialist party (PSB) candidate Marina Silva dropped a pledge to defend same-sex marriage, the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, who is running for a second term, has formally promised to criminalise homophobia if elected.
Brazil’s Supreme Court controversially ruled in favour of same-sex marriage last year, but the change has faced strong opposition from evangelical lawmakers, and attempts to codify the change into law have stalled in Congress.