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‘Not the same as racism’: French referees told not to stop soccer matches over homophobia

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The head of French soccer said Tuesday that he had instructed referees to no longer stop matches over homophobic abuse from fans, putting him on a collision course with the sports ministry and the soccer league.

Speaking to France Info, Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), said that stopping matches for anti-gay chants and banners in the stands was “a mistake”, and that he hoped his decision would take effect from this weekend’s games.

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“I would stop a match for racist chants. I would stop a match for fighting or if there were a dangerous situation in the stands,” Le Graët said.

But racism and homophobia “are not the same thing”, he insisted, adding that it should be down to the clubs to stop those responsible from getting into stadiums.

“The clubs’ security services have to check the people who go to games, there is security there to ensure that banners disappear quickly,” he said.

Le Graët has already criticised the temporary stopping of matches in the French league over homophobic abuse.

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On Friday he said “too many matches” had been halted due to new rules introduced over the summer by the Professional Football League (LFP), which runs France’s top Ligue 1 division, in a bid to stop the phenomenon.

He also claimed that politicians were trying to exploit the problem in an effort to look good “in front of television cameras”.

‘Discredit’ to football

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Le Graët drew the ire of sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who in April launched the appeal for matches to be stopped in the event of homophobic abuse and on Saturday called the FFF chief’s comments a “discredit” to football.

Several matches have been temporarily halted in France this season thanks to LFP’s guidance, drawing praise from French politicians and heavy criticism from supporters.

Equalities minister Marlène Schiappa publicly praised referee Clément Turpin after he stopped Marseille’s 2-1 win at Nice for over 10 minutes last month following sustained abusive chanting and banners from home fans.

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Paris Saint-Germain’s match at Metz two days later was also briefly halted for a banner unfurled by the hosts’ supporters asking the French league (LFP) to allow them to aim homophobic chants at PSG.

Since the start of the French football season on August 9, there have been at least 20 cases of fans chanting homophobic slurs or showing anti-gay banners during domestic games. By contrast, there were 111 incidents of homophobic abuse in England over the course of the entire 2017-2018 season, according to Kick It Out, a British pressure group for equality in the sport.


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Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady

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MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.

"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."

Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.

Watch the video below from MSNBC.

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‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case

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Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."

She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.

"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."

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CNN

WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial

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President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."

"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."

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