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Openly Gay Soccer Referee Receives Death Threats After Returning to Work

Jesus Tomillero
Jesus Tomillero/Instagram

Jesus Tomillero, who left his post in May after homophobic abuse at games, fears for his life after refereeing a match this weekend.

Death threats and homophobic insults like "faggot" filled the social media feeds of Jesus Tomillero, Spain's first openly gay soccer referee, following his return to the sport this week.

The 21-year-old, who took a break from the sport in May after several insults from players and fans, refereed a match this weekend in Andalusia. A player made homophobic slurs after Tomillero awarded a penalty to the opposing team and was later tossed from the game. Later, the death threats started coming in.

Police are investigating the threats, according to The Guardian.

"I'm going to keep on doing what I like doing, whatever it costs," Tomillero said. "But I am really, really scared."

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