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Ref comes out

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By Zac Hannay
Sport
Ref comes out

FOOTBALL referee Lloyd Wilson from Dumfries has joined fellow top level official Craig Napier in coming out as gay this week.

The pair hope their stance will help change the culture of the sport.
Speaking to the charity Back Onside yesterday, Lloyd said: “I was living a lie.
“The biggest worry was being judged differently from colleagues who are not gay.
“At the end of the day I am a referee. I will get things right and wrong, we all do because it is part of the job.”
He admitted to being ‘petrified’ about doing the interview and talking about his sexuality but added: “I feel doing this interview is crucial for not just other referees, but also colleagues who are players and suffering the same battle and journey that I have.”
On why he feels it is necessary to share his story, Lloyd added: “We need those watching and playing the game to normalise it.”
He has received overwhelming support so far since speaking out, with a message even coming from the other side of the world from Josh Cavallo, an Australian professional footballer who came out as gay in October 2021.
Both Lloyd and Craig follow Blackpool player Jake Daniels who last month became the first professional male footballer in the UK to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu. Forward player Fashanu, who came out publicly in 1990, had spells in Scotland with Airdrie, when they were in the top flight, and later on at Hearts.
Meanwhile, 31-year-old Lloyd yesterday told the Dumfries Courier how he began his refereeing career by approaching a ref during a game he was attending as a spectator and asking how he could get involved. Since then he has worked his way up the levels of officiating in Scotland, being involved in different SPFL games every week during the season.
And describing the pinnacle of his career so far, Lloyd picked the 2018 Scottish Junior Cup Final for “being chosen out of all the other referees to take charge of the match.”

* Lloyd will be taking charge of the Steven Swinglehurst testimonial match between Annan Athletic legends and a Back Onside Select on Sunday July 3.

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