Spain's first openly-gay football referee retires after suffering homophobic abuse during games

Jesús Tomillero only came out publicly last year

football, spain, referee, lgbt, jesus tomillero

Picture by: Jesús Tomillero/Twitter

Jesús Tomillero, Spain's first openly-gay football referee has retired from the game after suffering homophobic abuse on the pitch.

Tomillero, who only came out publicly 14 months ago, according to The Guardian, announced his retirement as he "cannot take it any more".

The referee began his career over a decade ago as an 11-year-old. He works in the local league in Andalusia, covering the lower tiers of Spanish football. 

 

Con 11 añitos haciendo lo que Amo !! Pena me da descansar hasta la temporada que viene !!

A photo posted by Jesús Tomillero Benavente (@jesustomillero) on

Tomillero was subjected to homophobic abuse in a game in March 2015, and afterwards he decided to come out publicly. The team official who abused the referee was given a nine-game ban and fined €30.

Since then, Tomillero has been subjected to constant abuse, he told El Espanol in an interview, published on Tuesday afternoon. Last weekend, he was subjected to more abuse from the stands which proved to be the final straw.

After giving a penalty in a game, Tomillero revealed he was abused from the crowd about his sexuality and "everyone in the crowd laughed", which sent him to tipping point.

On Monday, the referee handed in his resignation to the Andalusian footballing authorities.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain for almost a decade, but it sadly looks like there are still barriers to break down when it comes to equality in the country.