TMO reveals horrific messages from New Zealand fans following Rugby World Cup final


The television match official (TMO) from the Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand has opened up about the truly horrific messages he received from some All Blacks fans after the Springboks’ win last month.

Tom Foley [pictured first from the left above] has revealed that not only was he targeted, but his family as well.

Fellow Englishman, and referee for the final, Wayne Barnes, recently lifted the lid on the abuse he received following World Rugby’s showpiece event, with Foley the latest to come forward.

The Somerset native’s children were targeted, with their school even receiving an email, while one person even threatened to “slit” his throat.

“They were direct threats,” he told the Two Locks and a Cox podcast.

“Against you, your family and kids. Things like: ‘I hope your family die in a dreadful car accident. I’m going to hunt you down and slit your throat.’

“Most of it you can take. A lot of it is just from keyboard warriors. But when they know enough information that it could be a problem, that’s when it gets worrying.

“[My children’s] school even had an email. It’s a tiny minority. Think of the millions of people who watched that game. It’s still a tiny percentage, but the problem is, how are we going to get people to referee? The sport as a whole is going to suffer.

“You know, as a referee, you’re going to get grief at some point. You knew, officiating a World Cup final between two teams who had been so successful, you were going to get some grief no matter who won or lost.

“Neither of us understood the level. It has gotten worse in the last year. World Rugby, to be fair, have been proactive, getting a company involved who screen everything. We send them everything that we get sent directly. They do investigations which can lead to prosecution.”

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