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Spain’s first openly gay football referee quits over fans’ homophobia

Gay referee says he can no longer cope with the abuse

Spain’s first openly gay football (or soccer for Americans) referee has quit after growing sick of fans’ homophobia.

Jesús Tomillero, 21, said being a referee of the game had been his ‘greatest passion’, hoping to one day ref a world title match. But despite this, it’s not enough to listen to continuous homophobic slurs as he tries to do his job.

In one incident, Tomillero said a soccer fan shouted: ‘You can stick the goal up your arse, you fucking poof’ after he gave a penalty during a game last Saturday. Tomillero said the crowd then laughed.

Tomillero came out to Spain’s El Espanyol in March last year. Tomillero says he has been backed by first division referees, but lamented that officials from the Andalucían federation ignored him following his decision to come out publicly in March last year. While he is being supported by first division referees, officials from the Andalusian Football Federation refused to help.

He has presented a formal complaint. But no matter how it turns out, he says he will still quit.

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