THE referee who took charge of the Rugby World Cup final has stepped down.
Wayne Barnes has announced his retirement in a statement that cited the rise in online abuse and threats towards Rugby Union referees.
The news comes in the same week that it was revealed by The Telegraph that Barnes and his family had been on the receiving end of death threats during the World Cup in France.
There has been a lot of noise around the officiating of the final between South Africa and New Zealand and it seems that even Barnes himself knew it was time to hang up his whistle.
He posted a statement social media explaining his decision to call it quits on his 20-year career as a referee at the top level.
He said: “Over the past 20 years, I have been in the middle of some of the greatest rugby matches in history,
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“I have seen some of the world’s best players and worked with some of the finest coaches the game has ever produced.
“Last Saturday, I was privileged to referee the Rugby World Cup final between two of the most iconic teams in sport; the All Blacks and the Springboks.
“People often say you will know when it is the right time to retire, and this is clearly the right time for me and for my family.
“My children have missed out on time with their dad for far too long and I am now looking forward to family weekends, sports matches, school assemblies and birthday parties.”
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