Former Wales rugby union captain Gareth Thomas has called for the British Government to tackle homophobic abuse in soccer with a change in legislation.

This season has seen a number of incidents of alleged homophobic abuse at grounds around the country.

Brighton have taken action against fans at the Amex Stadium following problems during games versus Wolves and then Chelsea on New Year's Day.

Earlier this month, play was stopped in the first half of the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Reading following allegations of abusive chants from the stands at The Den.

Reading, meanwhile, have apologised to Cardiff supporters after a row erupted over allegations of discriminatory abuse during Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie between the clubs.

Thomas came out as gay in 2009 and last year revealed he was HIV positive.

The 45-year-old continues to campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding the virus and against discrimination.

Former British and Irish Lions skipper Thomas - who made 100 appearances for Wales between 1995 and 2007 - has called for amendments to the Football Offences Act to help address homophobic abuse.

"If you are running a country then you run the country to support everyone and to make better conditions for people to live in."

Speaking to the Don't Tell Me the Score podcast on BBC Sounds, Thomas said: "What happens in sport, I believe, in football definitely, is everyone in football is very good at reacting to situations.

"So we will have an act of racism, it hits the headlines, everyone comes out reacting in the right way.

"Another two or three months later another racist act or homophobic act or transphobic act will occur and everyone will react in the right way - but when you look at it seven months down the line, nothing has happened because everyone has reacted enough."

Before the general election, Thomas had lobbied Conservative MP Damian Collins, who is standing for re-election as chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

The Welshman says there is "a blatantly obvious black hole in the law within football", which needs to be addressed at the very top - and issued a direct plea for change to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"If you are running a country then you run the country to support everyone and to make better conditions for people to live in," Thomas said.

"Yes I am passionate about the LGBT issue, but I am just as passionate about the racism issue - it is in there, it is so simple, so just make the change. Do it Boris, do it."

Thomas feels there is also more work needed from football's stakeholders.

"How can you have all of these organisations who run a multi-billions-pound game not realise that within a Football Offences Act, times have changed and maybe they should be amended," Thomas said.

"I am now the one who will have to go back to Parliament, go back to Damian Collins to change something and what the FA will do is applaud me and say: 'Well done Gareth, now it's changed, we totally support you'.

"I do mind when they just react to situations and not sit down and think about being proactive about it."

In a statement, the Football Association highlighted the governing body's drive for equality on and off the pitch.

"The FA is committed to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in football at every level of the game," a spokesperson said.

"We continue to work with partners across the game, such as Stonewall and LBGT fan groups, to encourage fans and players to report abuse, both at a national and county FA level, and work with the leagues, campaign groups and the statutory agencies to sanction and educate perpetrators."