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Atletico Mineiro apologises for fans’ homophobic chants

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Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro have apologised after some of their fans chanted a homophobic slur during Sunday’s derby against Cruzeiro, alongside support for controversial right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

An artwork featuring a Nigerian footballer is displayed to welcome Nigeria’s national football team to their base camp in Essentuki, southern Russia on June11, 2018, ahead of Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO /

“Atletico Mineiro deeply apologises for the homophobic displays from some fans on Sunday,” the club from Minas Gerais wrote on Twitter.

A group of hardcore fans had chanted “Cruzeiro fans, be careful, Bolsonaro will kill the queers”, while charging towards rival supporters.

Poll front-runner Bolsonaro has been widely criticised by opponents for making openly homophobic statements.

In 2011, he told Playboy magazine he would rather see his own son “die in an accident” than ever come out as gay.

He has also been branded a sexist and racist over other controversial comments.

Bolsonaro is currently recovering in hospital after being stabbed by a left-wing activist while campaigning earlier this month.

Videos of the Atletico fans’ chants were quickly shared on social media — a medium Bolsonaro has mastered, building up a following of 8.5 million people — but just as quickly drew scorn in response.

“The majority of fans from Minas are made up of people from every social class, race and gender, without any kind of discrimination,” added Atletico, who face a potential sanction over the chants.

Matches between Atletico and Cruzeiro are notorious for tension between fans. On Sunday, 12 fans were arrested after trying to carry iron bars, sticks and fireworks into the ground.

The match finished 0-0.

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