Just two months before Brazil hosts the FIFA World Cup, clothing stores are selling T-shirts calling soccer players ‘faggots’.
Sergio K, a Brazilian brand, have revealed several designs for football fans to wear during the June and July sporting season.
The simple T-shirt designs call Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo ‘gay’ and retired Argentine footballer Diego Maradona a ‘maricón’ (a faggot).
The designer defends the T-shirts, which are being sold for around €62 ($85), as ‘irreverent’ and not offensive.
He is also claiming they are selling out in stores across the country.
‘The collection has a irreverent theme and the T-shirts are made for those who want to cheer for Brazil but do not want to wear the official kit,’ Sergio K said, as translated by Gay Star News.
‘It’s not homophobic to me. Homophobia is something else. The T-shirts do not incite violence.’
An online petition has been launched in order to stop stores selling the homophobic T-shirts.
‘It’s unbelievable and absurd that a store of this size is selling T-shirts with homophobic phrases in shopping malls across Brazil, including prominently in shop windows where it can obviously be seen by children and adolescents,’ the petition says.
‘If a T-shirt called a black player ‘monkey’, this would be absolutely unacceptable. Any fan wearing something like that would be ejected from the stadium.
‘We demand the stores stop selling the tops and they must be withdrawn immediately. End homophobia in football!’
Last year, World Cup chiefs were heavily criticized for choosing to keep the competition in countries with homophobic laws.
Russia will host in 2018, with Qatar following in 2022.