Spain’s first openly gay referee says he’s been forced to walk away from football after receiving constant homophobic abuse from pretty much everybody at the game.
A referee since the age of 11, Jesus Tomillero had been officiating in the Andalusian regional leagues but made the decision to quit last weekend after being subjected to homophobic abuse for giving a penalty during the game between Portuense and San Fernando Isleno.
Tomillero came out publicly last year when he filed a formal complaint against a kit man, who verbally abused him during an under-19’s league match.
Tomillero decided to share his story on facebook and became an advocate for combating homophobia in the sport, declaring that he was to continue on despite the abuse.
Now, after 14 months of repeated and relentless heckling, an incident during the aforementioned Portuense-San Fernando game on Saturday caused him to change his mind and turn his back on officiating entirely.
Sid Lowe has the depressing details in his Guardian piece:
“Soon after Tomillero gave a penalty, he says someone from among the visiting supporters shouted: “That’s that poof who was on the telly,” adding, “you can stick the goal up your arse, you fucking poof”.
The referee said the worst thing was that “everyone in the crowd laughed”. He communicated his decision to quit football to the Andalucian football federation soon after.”
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Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran