PARIS (AP) — Selected quotes from an Associated Press interview with Nigel Owens, one of rugby's most capped international referees and, exceptionally in professional sports, openly gay:

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"When it happens in football (soccer), it's going to be huge, it's going to be a massive spotlight on that person and you have to be a certain type of person to be able to deal with that" — on football getting its first major openly gay star.

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"A lot of the footballers, the rugby players — like I was — are probably finding out they are gay and they don't want to be gay. So they are dealing with who they are" — why so few players have come out.

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"I got home that night and I thought to myself, 'If those kids really knew who I was, that I was gay, I wonder if they would want to have a picture ... That was a trigger" — Owens explaining that being asked for autographs and photos by fans who recognized him from television helped prompt his decision to come out.

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"There is room for technology in rugby, but that balance has to be right, and at the moment I think there's too much of it, it's used too much, I think" — on the use of video replays.

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"Sometimes you referee a game or you watch other games and you see players chasing referees and you think, 'For (expletive) sake boys, we can't let rugby get like soccer" — on why he takes no nonsense from players.

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"It would have to be a huge, huge culture change in football on the field if they were to do that, on both sides, I think ... You are going to have to bleep a lot of things out for the first couple of weekends" — on whether football should make officials wear television microphones, as rugby does, so viewers can hear referee-player exchanges.

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"Unfortunately, I think there are some referees now, younger referees coming through the system, who I think are going into rugby for the wrong reason, maybe going into rugby because they can see that the referees who are there now have become household names, I guess" — on his successors looking to become stars.