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Fan fined €150 for calling gay football referee 'fag'

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Fan fined €150 for calling gay football referee 'fag'
Jesús Tomillero has become a crusader for LGBT rights in sport: Jesús Tomillero/Twitter
11:37 CEST+02:00
A man who told Spain's only openly gay football referee to "stick that goal up your arse" has received a fine of just €150 ($170).

It has been an intense few weeks for Spanish football referee Jesús Tomillero.

The sporting official based in Andalusia has barely been out of the news since he publicly spoke out about his experiences as an openly gay man in the macho world of football in an interview in April with Spain’s El Español news site.

In that interview Tomillero described in detail an incident at a youth game in the southern Spanish region talking about how a kit man of a local team had reacted angrily to an offside call, calling the 21-year-old a “maricón” (faggot) and saying he liked to “take it in the arse”. The abuse continued for another 45 minutes but staff at the game refused to call police and instead joked about bringing in the fire brigade while labelling the official a "troublemaker".

The kit man was eventually fined €30 and handed a nine-game suspension.

The incident was enough to make Tomillero decide to go public about his experiences with his story attracting plenty of attention both in Spain and overseas.

The story received even more media attention coming as it did at a time when Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was the target of homophobic abuse with fans shouting "maricón" during a match with arch-rival Barcelona. Tomillero captured headlines when he called the episode “disgraceful” and said it was “insignificant” to him whether the star was gay or not.

Tomillero, who has now become something of a figurehead in the world of gay sports, told El Español at that time that he would continue to referee despite the abuse he had suffered.

But another incident on Saturday saw him changing his mind. During a second division youth game, the referee awarded a penalty. A fan with visiting club San Fernando Isleño then shouted “That’s the poof who was on television. Stick that goal up your arse, fucking poofter.”

It was the final straw for Tomillero who decided to call it a day after the match.

Now the league’s oversight committee has decided to punish the offending fan to the tune of €150, a sum which the referee sees as “shameful” but said he was becoming used to such events.

He described his life in football as “humiliation after humiliation”.

“If the Andalusian Football Federation calls me before Monday I will return to refereeing,” he has told El Español.

Tomillero has yet to hear anything from the organization but clubs including Cadiz FC and footballing greats such as Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas have offered support.

 

 

 

The news comes in the same week that Spain was hailed as a model for gay rights in a new report .

The country was rated the fifth best country in Europe for LGBT rights in the report by Brussels-based advocacy group ILGA-Europe, moving up from its place at number six last year.

Spain’s legacy as one of the first European countries to grant equal marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples in 2005 has made it a model for other countries that still straggle behind, said ILGA-Europe advocacy director, Katrin Hugendubel.

"With all the progress Spain has made in the past, there’s really no going back," Hugendubel told The Local.

Spanish football remains, however, a particularly macho environment, with no professional players declaring themselves gay.

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