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2 fans banned for abusing gay referee

November 28, 2014

LONDON (AP) — England’s Rugby Football Union says two people have been banned from all matches at Twickenham for two years following an investigation into anti-gay abuse aimed at referee Nigel Owens during a game.

The abuse occurred during the test match between England and New Zealand on Nov. 8 and came to light in a letter from a spectator published by British newspaper The Guardian.

The RFU says Friday that the two people will pay 1,000 pounds ($1,560) to a charity of Owens’ choice.

Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the RFU, says “while instances of this nature are exceptionally rare, the RFU takes rugby’s values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship very seriously.”

Owens, who is gay, is widely regarded as one of rugby’s top referees.

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