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Online abuse sees EPCR switch referee Brace's Champions Cup appointment

‘With his welfare and development as a referee to the fore, this course of action was deemed to be appropriate.’

Brace was in charge of England v France last weekend.
Brace was in charge of England v France last weekend.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRFU REFEREE ANDREW Brace has seen his appointment for next weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup action switched due to the online abuse he has received following England’s Autumn Nations Cup win over France.

Brace was the referee as the Autumn Nations Cup final went to sudden-death extra time and saw some of his decisions queried by the French coaching staff after England’s 22-19 win.

Brace was subsequently targeted by online abuse, including comments left under his Twitter post that linked to an obituary of his late father.

Following that abuse, EPCR has decided to switch Brace from his previous appointment for the Toulouse v Exeter Chiefs clash in France on Friday 18 December.

He will now referee the game between Wasps and Montpellier at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry instead, with Scotland’s Mike Adamson switching onto the Toulouse fixture.

“The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup Match Officials selection committee, chaired by Joël Jutge, EPCR’s Head of Match Officials, decided that due to the personal nature of some of the criticism levelled at Andrew Brace following last weekend’s Autumn Nations Cup match between England and France, it would be prudent on this occasion to make the appointment changes,” said EPCR in a statement.

“EPCR and the selection committee regard Andrew Brace as a highly-talented match official, and with his welfare and development as a referee to the fore, this course of action was deemed to be appropriate in the circumstances.”

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Brace will be on the whistle for Bristol Bears’ home tie against Clermont this Saturday 12 December.

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