One of longest-ever suspensions in England: ‘Homophobia must be punished’


Friday, July 8, 2022 at 11:06• Kevin van Buuren • Last update: 11:14

Marcus Bignot has been banned for seven games by the English Football Association (FA) over a homophobic remark, the association said in an official statement. The former Birmingham City Women assistant coach made that comment to Tottenham Hotspur trainer Rehanne Skinner during a head-to-head league game in February. Birmingham City released an official statement on Thursday that Bignot is no longer working at the club for this reason.

During the home game against Tottenham (0-2 loss), emotions ran high between Bignot and Skinner. “Fuck off Marcus, you’re a prick and always have been”, the Tottenham coach shouted in the seventeenth minute. Reportedly, 47-year-old Bignot reacted inappropriately. “Maybe if you had a little bit of prick in you and your life, then maybe you’d be better for it and at your job.” The word ‘prick’ can here be translated freely to the Dutch ‘cock’. The Birmingham Women’s coach was later charged with “inappropriate and/or abusive language” of a homophobic nature.

At a two-day hearing in May, Bignot denied the allegations. He claimed to “not know” about Skinner’s sexual orientation. That was openly questioned, as Skinner’s partner was a Birmingham player at the time Bignot coached there. The association therefore found the coach guilty of a ‘serious violation’ after an investigation. “His use of language contained a reference, express or implied, to sexual orientation,” the commission said on his seven-game ban. It is one of the longest suspensions in the history of the Women Super League, the highest women’s division in England.

The FA stressed the importance of the penalty for the trainer. “It is important that homophobic comments are severely punished,” the union said. Bignot, who also works for the England Under-19, stepped down from that position in April, given the ongoing investigation, but continued to work for Birmingham City, which “We condemn all homophobia and reiterate our aim to eliminate all discrimination. We thank Marcus for his services to the club.”


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