A REFEREE has won praise for stopping a Brazilian top-flight game due to fans’ homophobic chants.
Anderson Daronco forced Vasco De Gama manager Vanderlei Luxemburgo to make home supporters halt their abuse during the clash with Sao Paulo.
It was the second time this month officials have used new powers from Fifa enabling them to stop matches because of offensive chanting.
French official Mehdi Mokhtari halted Nancy’s Ligue 2 game with Le Mans for a minute in the first half, also over homophobic abuse.
This time, Brazilian ref Daronco firmly gestured he would not resume proceedings until the chanting ended.
Mid-table Vasco were 1-0 up midway through the second period on the way to a 2-0 win over fourth-placed Sao Paolo.
Stern-faced Daronco heard abuse from the crowd and circled his finger in the air to signal a hold-up.
He then ushered former Real Madrid and Brazil boss Luxemburgo, 67, onto the pitch to confront the issue.
Luxemburgo waved his hands up and down in a silencing gesture to the stands before wagged his finger.
Meanwhile, Daronco explained his action to players before finally allowing the game to restart.
And aside from some homophobic trolling, his actions were warmly applauded on social media.
One fan, though, defended Vasco’s reputation, saying: “The portion of the crowd that sang homophobic singing does not represent those who understand what our shirt represents, let alone our club, but we will take punishment.”
But that comment sparked controversy, with another supporter claiming no other Brazilian club had such a serious issue with homophobic fans.
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He said: “Vasco had the biggest problem of its kind in the country.”
But a Vasco fan responded: “I was in the stands and I can say that very few people did it. Don’t generalize,
“I was one of those who screamed to stop the screaming and many did the same.”same.