A BLACKBURN Rovers player is being investigated by police after furious fans claimed he made repeated homophobic gestures during a match.
The complaints were made about midfielder Colin Kazim-Richards who is alleged to have made insults towards fans on ‘at least five’ occasions during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.
Sussex Police football liaison officer PC Darren Balkham said he had received ‘numerous complaints’ about the alleged abuse.
He said: “We will be investigating this fully and will be taking statements and looking through camera footage.
“Whether you are on the pitch or in the stands, Sussex Police takes any allegations of homophobic language or gestures seriously.” Officers investigating the complaints against Kazim-Richards have contacted Lancashire Police, and the two football clubs for assistance.
A spokesman for the Football Association said a number of complaints had been received and said they would be working with police to investigate what happened.
Albion fans are often subjected to homophobic chants by opposition fans due to Brighton’s reputation as the gay capital of the UK.
Kazim-Richards, who is an official campaigner for the anti-racism initiative Kick It Out, played for Albion for one season at the age of 18 in 2005-2006.
His contract was signed after an Albion fan won £250,000 for the club in a competition run by Coca-Cola – leading to Kazim-Richards being dubbed the ‘Coca-Cola Kid’.
Lou Engelfield from the campaign group Football v Homophobia said it was ‘crucial’ to rid the game of abuse.
She said: “Regardless of what may or may not have happened on Tuesday night, it’s good to see people standing up and saying homophobia has no place in football.”
Blackburn FC and Kazim-Richards declined to comment.