The Telegraph has broken the story of the Free Speech Union’s latest case – and we think it might be our biggest yet. A special unit set up by the Premier League to root out racism was used to comb through comments made by Linzi Smith, a gay female Newcastle fan, to find evidence that she believes – shock, horror! – sex is binary and immutable.
A female football fan was banned from matches over social media posts that were deemed transphobic after a ‘Stasi’ spying investigation by the Premier League.
A special unit set up to root out racism in the game was used to comb through comments made by Linzi Smith, a gender-critical Newcastle United supporter, even though the posts had nothing to do with football. Gender-critical people believe transgender women are not women.
Ms. Smith, who is gay and promotes lesbian, gay and bisexual rights and women’s rights, was put under investigation by the police, the Premier League and Newcastle United after expressing strong views on trans ideology on her personal account on X, formerly Twitter.
The 34-year-old was shocked to discover that the Premier League had compiled a dossier detailing where she lives, works and where she walked her dog. The 11-page “target profile”, marked confidential, included data on “associated aliases” and “vulnerabilities”.
She was interviewed under caution by police after the dossier was handed to officers by Newcastle United. Officers took just two hours to inform her that she had not committed any crime, but the club, which had spent four months looking into her background, revoked her membership and banned her from games until 2026.
She is taking legal action in an attempt to overturn the ban, arguing that her right to exercise gender-critical views is protected in law, and that the Premier League’s trawl of her personal social media account constituted a breach of data protection laws.
She told the Telegraph: “I’m struggling to believe this has happened to me. It’s mind-blowing that they have gone to such lengths because I have expressed views to which I am entitled on my personal Twitter account.
“They have behaved like the Stasi – it was being done so covertly that I didn’t even know what was happening.
“They kept telling me they want everyone to feel included – but it appears you’re only welcome if you follow their thought process on everything, and if you don’t you are banned. It is sinister and I feel violated, to be honest.”