Gareth Thomas

A British rugby club has been fined £40,000 after its supporters chanted homophobic slurs against an openly gay player from a competing team.

The Castleford Tigers, based in West Yorkshire, England, was found guilty by the Rugby Football League of misconduct during a match against Crusaders RL on March 26.

Fans of the club targeted winger Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in December last year, with their anti-gay chanting.

The club was fined £20,000, which is payable immediately, with a further £20,000 suspended until the end of 2011.

Castleford Chief Executive Richard Wright said that he was “shocked” by the verdict and planned to appeal the fine. “To say we are disappointed and shocked is an understatement,” he added.

Rod Findlay, who is a legal adviser to the club, claimed that while “the club condemns any person who makes or chants obscene remarks towards players or officials” it “could not have done anymore on the day” to prevent the chanting.

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