The Crystal Palace goalkeeper Lucy Gillett has said she was subjected to sexist abuse from male fans at Coventry United on Sunday.

The 25-year-old American has told BBC Sport that during the first half of Palace’s 3-2 Championship defeat a group of fans shouted the referee should “check the gender” of Palace players.

Calling for action, she said: “In my 18 years of playing I’ve never had verbal abuse directly aimed at myself right behind my goal. It was an unpleasant experience. If it was a racist comment it wouldn’t be tolerated. We have had players walk off pitches for racist comments. Maybe I should have walked off the pitch in that match.”

In a statement Coventry said they were aware of the allegations” and were looking into them. “We are investigating the matter carefully, with the close support of the Football Association. Until the investigations are complete, CUFC staff or players will be making no further comment.”

Gillett, who joined Palace from the Women’s Super League side Brighton last summer, said the abuse came from a group of about eight men behind her goal, which she reported to the referee at half-time.

“At the time I wasn’t 100% sure of the protocol or what I was supposed to do,” she said. “I tried to just ignore it and continue with the game.

“The behaviour was better in the second half but still not completely controlled and quite intimidating for the team.

“I can’t say what should have happened or shouldn’t have happened, but for me to be verbally abused for 45 minutes – to anyone that is unacceptable.

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“If we are going to see more of these incidents in the women’s game then there needs to be protocols of what teams and security should be doing if they come across this kind of situation.”

The FA said it is looking into the incident and is “committed to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in football at every level of the game.”



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