British police ARREST two teen boys for making fun of female soccer referee

Two 17-year-old boys were taken into custody after they allegedly made fun of female referee Rebecca Welch during a Birmingham City soccer match on Saturday.

There had been pleas put out by Birmingham City prior to the match for fans to not engage in "offensive chanting" towards the female referee after she saw issues during her last visit to the arena, the Daily Mail reports.

West Midlands Police arrested two teenagers on what the outlet says was a "suspicion of a public order offence" after their "alleged misogynistic chanting."

"We have arrested two boys for misogynistic chanting at the female referee during Birmingham City's home game at St Andrew's today," a police spokesperson told Birmingham Live on Nov. 25. 

"Our officers heard the chants being directed at the official and acted quickly to arrest the two, who are both 17. They are currently in custody on suspicion of a public order offence as we carry out enquiries."

"We don’t tolerate any form of hate and it is important hate crime is reported to us," added the spokesperson. "Today is White Ribbon Day which is the start of a 16-day long campaign. It focuses on everyone, especially men and boys on what they can do to change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence against women and girls."

Prior to the start of the match, Birmingham City complained that it had received "received several reports of sexist and misogynistic abuse" aimed at Welch during the last game she had refereed, and added that it would "not be tolerated and any individual reported for such behaviour will be asked to leave their seat by stewards."

The memo also warned that fans who engage in whatever it considers to "hate speech" will be punished with a "maximum ban of five years."

This increased concern over alleged "hate speech" at soccer games in the United Kingdom comes as Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar vowed on Friday to pass new laws "against incitement to hatred and hatred in general" after the nation has seen unrest following a knife attack against children. The attack spurred controversy after it came to light that it was allegedly committed by an Algerian immigrant.

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