By Chris Wright
As of this season, the Norwegian league have taken bold steps toward toughening their stance on homophobia by making the use of offensive slurs during matches a red card offence.
The new protocol was put into action during Sunday’s second division game between Baerum SK and Sandnes Ulf, wherein Baerum midfielder Simen Juklerod was sent off for calling one of his opponents ‘gay’.
Baerum and Sandnes Ulf were all square at 2-2 when Juklerod was dismissed though his side eventually went on to lose 3-2.
“There was a second I was not thinking, and said the second word (gay), yes,” Juklerod told the media.
“Of course it’s completely lame. But I still think that’s not a red card.”
Sadly for Simen, using such words “in an insulting or offensive manner” is now deemed worthy of a red card in all Norwegian league games, as outlined by head of referees Terje Hauge.
For the record, Juklerod denied using any other offensive language. Baerum have since launched an investigation into the incident.
Perhaps it is arguably a little heavy-handed to send a player off for calling an opponent ‘gay’ given the multitude of similarly offensive language bandied around during the average football match, but the change has got to start somewhere, hasn’t it?
It’s a sound policy in our book: Either keep your nonsense to yourself or sling your bloody hook.