RFU probe referee abuse allegations

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Published: Thursday 13th November 2014 by The News Editor

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The Rugby Football Union has launched an investigation into allegations of homophobic abuse of referee Nigel Owens at Twickenham last Saturday.

Owens, who is openly gay, is claimed to have been the subject of discriminatory taunts by supporters during England’s 24-21 defeat by New Zealand in the opening QBE International.

“We take any allegations of any abuse very seriously and are investigating this matter,” an RFU spokesperson said.

The matter was first brought to light when a spectator witnessed the abuse from a group of men he estimated to be their mid-30s and subsequently wrote a letter to a national newspaper outlining what he had heard.

“I could not believe that a bunch of men half my age watching a rugby match in the 21st century could be capable of hurling such nasty, foul-mouthed, racist, homophobic abuse at an openly gay match official,” read the letter published in The Guardian.

While the RFU stresses that allegations of abuse of any type at Twickenham are extremely rare, it states that it is taking the matter “very seriously”.

“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,” an RFU spokesperson said.

Published: Thursday 13th November 2014 by The News Editor

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