RWC Final TMO steps away from Test rugby after 'torrent of abuse'
NEWS: Tom Foley, who was the TMO for this year’s World Cup Final, has decided to step away from international match officiating for the foreseeable future.
In recent interviews, the English match official revealed not only has he received death threats and online abuse, but there was even a sinister email sent to his children’s school.
In a recent report, it has been revealed that World Rugby has recorded 2,000 posts to Foley and Wayne Barnes (the referee in the Final) since South Africa’s 12-11 win over New Zealand at Stade de France in Paris on October 28.
Foley will continue to officiate in the Premiership.
“Having reached the pinnacle in officiating at the World Cup Final, now feels the right time to take a break from the international game,” said Foley.
“Over the course of 13 years, I have been fortunate to officiate alongside many dedicated professionals and be involved in some of the greatest games in international rugby.
“However, the pressure and scrutiny I came under after the 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.
“While it’s a privilege to be at the heart of some of the sport’s most iconic moments, the increasing levels of vitriol, when the demands and expectation are so high, have led me to this moment.
“Working as an international match official takes you away from home for extended periods, and I am looking forward to spending more time at home with my young children.
“I am very grateful to my family for their support during my career; without them none of it would have been possible.”
#⃣ICYMI The threats of violence against match officials after the @rugbyworldcup #Final – won 12-11 by the @Springboks against the @AllBlacks – are now gettibng out of hand😳#Rugby 🏉#RugbyUnion🌏#RWC2023 🏆
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) November 30, 2023
Rugby Football Union CEO Bill Sweeney added: “I would like to thank Tom for his outstanding contribution to international officiating. Tom has officiated in 48 games internationally and is considered one of the best Television Match Officials globally.
“The abuse he has suffered since the World Cup Final, along with other officials involved in that game, is totally unacceptable and no one should be treated in this way, doing their job for the sport they are so committed to and passionate about.
“We will do everything possible to help guard against the abuse aimed at match officials and players and would urge everyone in our game to consider the role they can play in upholding rugby values.
“Although Tom steps back from Test officiating, we are pleased that he will remain part of the RFU Professional Game Match Officials Group, and that the sport will continue to benefit from his extensive experience domestically.”