Nigel Owens speaks out about homophobic abuse during an England test

International rugby referee Nigel Owens says the best way to deal with homophobic or racist abuse is to call the offenders out.

The Welshman, who is gay, said he was the target of homophobic abuse when he was refereeing a test match between the All Blacks and England at Twickenham in 2014.

The two fans were identified, banned from Twickenham for two years and fined £1000 (NZ$1910) each to a charity of Owens’ choice.

“I think the best way to deal with abuse is to call people out,” he said in his Wales Online column.

“I know what it’s like to be at the end of it. It’s not nice at all. You even on some occasions don’t feel safe.

“You feel very disappointed that this still goes on,” he wrote in his column.

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Owens says there needs to be a zero tolerance attitude to abuse, not matter who it is aimed at.

“But it’s the people who come to games that can make the real difference. The people on the ground and the people in the stadiums should tell people it’s not acceptable and then the governing bodies who can enforce it.”

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