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Ex-Super League official has say on French official’s suspension following World Cup Final antics

Laurent Abrial, a match official in the 2021 Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup final on 18 November 2022, has been found guilty of Misconduct and suspended from officiating in international rugby league matches until 1 January, 2026.

Mr Abrial was one of two main referees in charge of the final between England and France at Manchester Central.

An IRL Misconduct Committee chaired by Karim Khan and consisting of Uriah Rennie and Adam Cox found Mr Abrial had breached the IRL Code of Conduct and bought the game into disrepute through inappropriate, unprofessional and unacceptable behaviour during and after the game, including obscene gestures that could have incited the crowd, and whose conduct was prejudicial to the interests of both IRL and FFR13.

Mr Abrial accepted he had committed misconduct and expressed regret for his actions.

Mr Abrial has until Monday, 19 June to lodge an appeal.

Now former Super League official Ian Smith has had his say.

He revealed that he was asked to be on the panel and said it was a fair outcome.

“I was asked to go on the disciplinary panel about this case but because I’d given my opinion on here just after the original incident I felt it was prejudicial to him having a fair hearing so I declined. I think it’s a fair outcome though,” he said on social media.

When it was put to Smith that Abrial is a good bloke and this was out of character, Smith said:

“Maybe it was and that’s why he hasn’t been given a life ban.”

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