World Cup TMO steps away from Test rugby over abuse

It was confirmed on Monday that English referee Tom Foley, who was threatened with murder after serving as a television match official during the Rugby World Cup final, would not be refereeing Test rugby going forward.

During the October final in Paris between South Africa and New Zealand, which the Springboks won 12-11 and the All Blacks had their captain, Sam Cane, sent off, Foley served as TMO.

The 38-year-old said last month that since the World Cup, he and his family had been the target of death threats, and as a consequence, he had to notify his children’s school.

Wayne Barnes, who refereed the final, announced his retirement last month and referenced the online abuse he had faced, while family members were also targeted.

Furthermore, Foley’s decision follows England captain Owen Farrell’s decision to prioritize his and his family’s mental health above playing rugby internationally. Farrell will miss this season’s Six Nations.

In a statement made public by the Rugby Football Union, Foley stated, “The pressure and scrutiny I came under after the Rugby World Cup Final, along with a torrent of criticism and abuse online, has helped to reaffirm that this is the right decision for me at this point in my life.”

With almost 200 Premiership games officiated and 48 Test matches officiated, Foley will continue to officiate in the premier domestic competition in rugby in England. (AFP)

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