THE Rugby Football League is supporting Marcus Griffiths, one of the full-time panel of elite match officials, after the Widnes referee highlighted the disgraceful, homophobic abuse he has received on social media.

Tony Sutton, the RFL Chief Executive, has written to all professional clubs today stressing the importance of observing the sport’s Tackle It policy and Respect code of conduct in supporting match officials.

Griffiths posted screen shots of the disgusting social media messages he has received, including threats to himself and his mum.

The messages are too vile to repeat on here, but the 28-year-old official has received widespread support from across the game.

“All in the sport will condemn the appalling abuse which Marcus Griffiths has received on social media,” Sutton explained.

“We will provide support to Marcus through Rugby League Cares, and have worked with him in alerting the relevant authorities, whether digital or law-enforcement.

“We would urge all involved in the sport, whether at clubs or even in the media, to consider the consequences of their words and actions.

“Homophobic abuse is a hate crime and punishable by law. We want to be clear that any kind of discriminatory abuse is not welcome in our sport, and we will take the strongest possible action against perpetrators who can be identified.

“Our Match Officials work under intense scrutiny and pressure. We owe it to them as a governing body, and also as a sport, to support them at all times.”