Spain’s first openly gay referee has been invited to attend a Barcelona FC match as a show of solidarity, after he received torrents of homophobic abuse and death threats.
Jesús Tomillero, 21, came out in 2015, but was forced to quit in May this year after being abused by homophobic fans.
He returned to the game last month, but revealed soon after that he had continued to receive death threats. One particularly vile message read, “You son of a b***h. You messed with the club. We’ll kill you with Aids, you f***ot.”
Since, world-renowned team Barcelona FC have reached out to Tomillero to offer their support and invite him to visist the club. ESPN reports that the club is looking organise other events to help lead the way in the figh against anti-LGBT abuse in the game.
Despite a number of campaigns to tackle homophobia in sport, Football remains hostile to LGBT fans across the world.
A recent Stonewall report found that 1 in 5 young British fans would be embarrassed if their favourite football player came out, while this week a Mexican football official claimed that calling players “puto” (used in a similar way to “fag”) wasn’t offensive.
Meanwhile British footballer and former Attitude cover star Robbie Rogers received homophobic abuse by another player during a match in August this year.