Doncaster rugby fan complains after gay referee is abused

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A lifelong rugby fan from Doncaster has made an official complaint to the RFU after hearing racist and homophobic comments being hurled at an international referee.

Keith Wilson of Loversall was a spectator at the England v All Blacks game at Twickenham earlier this month when the abuse took place.

The semi retired healthcare consultant who has been a member of Doncaster Rugby Club, where he used to play, for some 30 years explained: “I’ve been to Twickenham about 15 times, there were about 82,000 people so there’s lots of noise, people drinking, a lot of banter you have to try and ignore, that’s quite normal.

“I was there with my son and some people in their 30s were sat behind me, they started and never stopped hurling homophobic abuse at the referee. It was just incessant, they were being disturbing and nasty.”

When Mr Wilson returned home he looked up details of the referee, Nigel Owens, discovering he had previously tried to commit suicide as he was coming to terms with his sexuality.

“It infuriated me so I thought I’d write to the RFU,” he said. “I have since spoken to them and they are trying to identify the culprits. I said it was pointless tackling just this incident, they need a system for people with a conscience to notify the stewards without comprising themselves.

“People think a lone voice is a waste of breath buf you don’t know you’re a lone voice unless you shout. If this had happened at Doncaster they would have been notified and swiftly dealt with.”

An RFU spokesperson said: “The RFU condemns all forms of discrimination and aims to ensure that all people, irrespective of their age, gender, ability, race, religion, ethnic origin, creed, colour, nationality, social status or sexual orientation, have a genuine and equal opportunity to enjoy rugby union in whatever form, on or off the pitch, at all levels and in all roles. We take any allegations of any abuse very seriously and are investigating this matter.”