A Birmingham City Women coach is in hot water with the FA WSL for allegedly directing a homophobic slur towards a member of Tottenham Hotspur Women’s coaching staff. The incident took place during the match between Birmingham City and Tottenham on February 13 at St. Andrew’s.
According to the Telegraph, Marcus Bignot, a support coach with City Women, is accused of lobbing the insult during a heated exchange with the Tottenham bench during the WSL league match, a 2-0 win for Spurs Women. Bignot is a former QPR standout as a player, and former manager of Birmingham City Women and Aston Villa Women, as well as a number of men’s teams down the pyramid. In addition to a role with City Women, Bignot is also co-manager of men’s non-league side Guiseley United.
No further information about the exchange that prompted the accusation was provided, and Birmingham head coach Darren Carter is not accused of any wrongdoing. Should the allegation be proven, Bignot could face a ban of 6-12 matches.
I do remember watching this match, but I certainly do not remember any sort of incident on the sidelines, so whatever happened took place away from the FA Player cameras. As the Telegraph notes, allegations of homophobia is somewhat unusual in the WSL, with a not-insignificant number of current players either out or openly supportive of LGBTQIA+ issues. But unfortunately this isn’t the first time that Spurs have had a player or member of their staff be the subject of reported homophobic discriminatory conduct. Three years ago, when still in the second division, a Sheffield United player was credibly accused for directing “monkey noises” at then-Spurs Women forward Renee Hector. The player, Sophie Jones, was disciplined and ultimately had her Sheffield contract terminated.
The WSL appears to be taking this extremely seriously, and rightfully so. Birmingham City have released a short statement on their website, but only to detail the exact accusation levied against Bignot.
The Club has been notified that Marcus Bignot has been charged by the FA.
Bignot has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 following our Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur Women on Sunday 13 February 2022.
It is alleged that he used improper and/or abusive and/or insulting language, contrary to Rule E3(1). It is further alleged that this breach of Rule E3(1) is an “Aggravated Breach”, as defined in Rule E3(2), that the language included a reference, whether express or implied, to sexual orientation.
He has until Monday 4 April 2022 to provide a response in appeal.
No further comment will be made at this time.
Tottenham Women have not commented publicly on this incident, and it seems have no intention to do so. Tottenham do not play Birmingham City again this season; Birmingham are bottom of the WSL table and barring a significant turnaround are looking set for relegation to the FA Women’s Championship next season.