French soccer player Yann Songo’o faces up to a 12-game suspension for hurling a homophobic slur against a competing player during a game last month. Songo’o, of The Football Association’s (FA) League Two team Morcambe FC, was handed a red card and dismissed from the January 30 game after he was captured on tape uttering the word “f****t” during an injury timeout. The FA officially charged Songo’o with an “aggravated breach” under tough new anti-discrimination rules in place this season. Songo’o has until Wednesday, February 24, to formally respond to the charges.
“It is alleged that the midfielder used abusive and/or insulting language towards an opponent during the 45th minute of the fixture, which is contrary to FA Rule E3.1, and that this constitutes an 'aggravated breach', as defined in FA Rule E3.2, because the language included a reference to sexual orientation,” the FA said in a statement.
According to a report in The Athletic, the offense took place during the 45th minutes of the game between Morecambe FC and Tranmere Rovers FC on Saturday, January 30. Songo’o hurled the inappropriate slur against a Tranmere player during a break in play to tend to an injured player. The slur was reportedly captured by microphones on the field, and heard by the referee Paul Howard who immediately booted Songo’o from the game on the spot.
Songo’o plays defensive midfielder for Morcambe and comes from a family of storied soccer stars. His father, Jacques Songo’o, is considered one of the greatest goaltenders in African history.
Last October, the San Diego Loyal forfeited both a game to the Phoenix Rising and their chance at the USL Championship playoffs when they walked off the field after a Rising player hurled an anti-gay slur at out Loyal midfielder Collin Martin and went unpunished. The player in question, Junior “Flemmo” Flemmings, was later suspended and fined for his actions. In addition, last month top golfer Justin Thomas got in hot water over saying a homophobic slur during a tournament. Though he immediately apologized he was dropped by Ralph Lauren and has been required by Citi to be involved in a make-good.