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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Tom Foley Steps Back From International Match Officiating


Tom Foley, a hugely respected match official both domestically and as part of the International Match Officials group, has decided to step away from international match officiating for the foreseeable future. He will continue to officiate in the Gallagher Premiership.

Tom began refereeing in 2010 in the National Leagues and has been involved in 217 games in the Premiership, including 127 as referee and 67 as Television Match Official (TMO); three of these were Premiership Finals. He has also officiated at four Champions Cup Finals in 2018, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

His first experience at international level came in November 2016 in a match involving Romania and Tonga and he’s officiated in 48 Tests in total, 16 in the Six Nations and eight in the Rugby World Cup this year.

Tom Foley said: “Having reached the pinnacle in officiating at the Rugby World Cup Final, now feels the right time to take a break from the international game. 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 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. 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.”

Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO, said: “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 Rugby 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.”



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