Rugby – Twickenham bans fans for homophobic abuse of referee
LONDON Fri Nov 28, 2014
(Reuters) – Twickenham, the home of English rugby, has banned two fans for two years for homophobic abuse aimed at gay Welsh referee Nigel Owens at a recent international against New Zealand.
The pair were also ordered to pay 1,000 pounds each to a charity of Owens’ choice.
“While instances of this nature are exceptionally rare, the RFU takes rugby’s values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship very seriously and is determined to uphold them,” said Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie in a statement on Friday.
“We are all guardians of these aspects of the game, on and off the pitch, and it is these values which make the sport special.”
The RFU has instituted a confidential text service to report any anti-social or discriminatory behaviour at the stadium that hosted the match against the All Blacks on Nov. 8.
Owens, who has been an official since 2005 and refereed at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups in France and New Zealand, is the first openly gay man to referee at the highest level of the sport.