Gay referee Nigel Owens on reporting homophobic abuse

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Rugby referee Nigel Owens has spoken about why he called police over homophobic abuse at a recent game.

He was on duty at a Welsh premiership game between Llanelli and Neath at Parc y Scarlets last month when a fan allegedly began shouting anti-gay abuse.

Mr Owens told the South Wales Post: “It’s the first time it’s happened when I have heard it so loud, the stadium was fairly empty and everyone there must have heard it, I know the players did.

“The reason something needs to be done about it, and why I took it to the police, however, is I recently spent six hours talking to a young rugby player who was contemplating taking his own life because he felt that he couldn’t deal with coming out.

“I have been through it myself and was telling him people would understand.

Then a few days later you get an idiot like that shouting homophobic abuse. It’s really not on.

“The Samaritans will tell you that around 4,000 young men a year take their own life in the UK and the reason in some cases is because they can not adjust to being gay.”

The referee, 39, is supporting a Samaritans campaign to prevent male suicides. He has documented his own struggle with depression and admitted he tried to kill himself at the age of 26.

Llanelli police are appealing for witnesses to the alleged abuse, which happened just before half-time at the November 15th game.