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Former Manchester United star Patrice Evra has been given a criminal conviction for posting homophobic abuse online.
Evra, who was not in court in Paris on Thursday, was fined €1,000 (£890) and ordered to pay €2,000 (£1780) compensation to two anti-hate campaign groups. Stop Homophobia and Mousse complained in March 2019 when he posted a video of himself on social media after his former side United had beat Paris St Germain 3-1 in the Champions League
"Paris, you are queers, you are queers," said the 41-year-old, causing outrage across France and beyond. Alleging that the Red Devils were more macho than PSG, Evra added: "Here, it’s the men who talk."
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Mousse and Stop Homophobia, supported by the anti-homophobia collective Rouge Direct, immediately filed a complaint for ‘public insult towards a group of people because of their sexual orientation’.
The investigating judge in the case reclassified the complaint to ‘non-public insult’ and referred the case to the Paris Police Court. The Judge ruled that Evra, who now lives in Dubai, had ‘expressed himself in a private setting for the making of a video which was later posted on Snapchat without his knowledge.’
Following today’s conviction, the complainants’ lawyer, Etienne Deshoulieres, released a statement saying: "The homophobic remarks of a personality like Patrice Evra fuel hatred and violence against LGBT people, in particular in countries where homosexuality is criminally repressed, like in Senegal, the country where Patrice Evra comes from."
Ex-West Ham defender Evra was born in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and then moved to Paris as a young child. Jerome Boursican, for Evra, said his client had "not wanted to harm the homosexual community", and was instead just "aiming [insults] at PSG".
The lawyer said Evra had published an apology video the day after the offending one was broadcast. Homophobia has become a huge issue in the modern professional game, with all European clubs, including English Premier League ones, claiming they are doing all they can to fight it.
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