Jesús Tomillero (Pic: Facebook)
The first gay football referee in Spain to come out has decided to leave the game after facing ongoing homophobic abuse, reports The Guardian.
Jesús Tomillero, 21, who went public with his sexuality in March, announced his retirement as a referee in the Andalucían regional league because he could “not take any more insults”.
He claims that he has faced “homophobic harassment every time he steps on the grass”.
The last straw was when Tomillero became the subject of homophobic slurs at a match on Saturday after he awarded one of the teams a penalty.
“That’s that poof who was on the telly,” shouted out a football fan. “You can stick the goal up your arse, you fucking poof.”
Tomillero told the El Español newspaper that what made matters worse was that “everyone in the crowd laughed”.
He had previously laid a complaint against a kit man from the Peña Madridista Linense under-19 team for anti-gay abuse. He lamented the fact that the kit man only received a nine-game ban when “football is educating 14- and 15-year-olds”.
Tomillero, who has been refereeing since the age of 11, has laid another complaint about the latest abuse but doesn’t expect much to come of it and has no intention of returning to the game.
An online petition had been launched calling for the Director of the Andalucia Ministry of Tourism and Sports “to take appropriate measures” to “cease the harassment” against Tomillero.