Police in Manchester are hunting a man who attacked a gay rugby player in the city’s LGBT centre, Canal Street, a few weeks ago.

The attack happened at about 9pm on Saturday 1 November, when the 24-year-old victim was promoting his LGBT rugby team. He was approached by a group of about four men who shouted homophobic abuse at him and one of them punched him in the face.

The victim was treated in hospital for a broken jaw and has had to have surgery to insert a steel plate.

Gareth Longley, spokesman for the Village Spartans, told Manchester Eveening News that they had been out on a recruitment drive all day, telling people what the club is about and trying to get new players and to drum up support.

‘When they walked into the Village a group of guys were making homophobic remarks at passers by,’ he said. ‘Our players walked up to them and everything calmed down and [the player] started chatting to them about the Spartans. One of the other group took offence and punched him in the face.’

Detective Constable Louise Kelly of North Manchester division said: ‘We believe this to be a homophobic attack and I want to make it clear that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated on our streets.

‘The victim was merely promoting his rugby team, but was subjected to an attack, during which he suffered a broken jaw. I want to reassure local businesses and residents, who live, reside or socialise in the gay village that we are treating this extremely seriously.

CCTV image of wanted manA blurry CCTV has been released, and police are asking anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV image or who may have witnessed the incident to contact them by phoning the non emergency number 101, or independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

‘It was 9pm in a busy area,’ added Kelly, ‘and there were lots of people on Canal Street at that time that may have information that could help us with our investigation.’