Fan with same name as Kiwi ref cops abuse

NEIL REID
Last updated 12:33 26/06/2014
Sky Sport

Kiwi linesman Mark Rule got it wrong costing Bosnia Herzegovina an early lead in their loss to Nigeria.

Peter O'Leary
Getty
UNDER FIRE: Kiwi referee Peter O'Leary has been widely criticised after officiating a match between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nigeria at the World Cup.

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An English football fan who shares the same name as underfire Kiwi ref Peter O'Leary has blown the whistle on a flood of online abuse he is receiving.

Whangarei-based referee Peter O'Leary has become Public Enemy No 1 for Bosnia and Herzegovina fans following crucial officiating errors in the side's 1-0 loss to Nigeria at the World Cup in Brazil.

The result cost the proud footballing nation a chance of reaching the knock-out stages of the four-yearly tournament.

More than 20,000 Bosnia and Herzegovina fans have signed a petition for O'Leary - a schoolteacher - to be sent home from Brazil, while Whangarei Police are also investigating a death threat reportedly directed at New Zealand's top football referee.

Many have also been mistakenly sending abuse online to a UK-based football fan named Peter O'Leary who yesterday took to Facebook in a bid to stop the mis-directed tirade of fury.

''People of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the global diaspora of Bosnians around the world. Please read this update before sending me any messages!!!,'' the Englishman wrote.

''I am not the referee from New Zealand.

''This is a polite, open message to ALL BOSNIANS, both in BiH and around the world, who have been sending me messages about the Bosnia Herzegovina football team being eliminated by Nigeria in the World Cup. I share the same name as the referee for that game. He is from New Zealand, but I am from England.

''I WILL REPEAT THIS AGAIN. I am NOT THE REFEREE who disallowed Edin Dzeko's perfectly legitimate goal.''

The fan said he was a ''great admirer of both Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Bosnian people''.

He had travelled to the ''wonderfully hospitable, heart-shaped land'' several times.''BiH is truly in my heart and ALWAYS will be,'' he wrote.

''The football tam's cruel loss to Nigeria has devastated me as much as any Bosnian football fan.

''The Bosnia and Herzegovina team was left fuming by two crucial calls by the New Zealand referee during Sunday's match.

They included his decision to disallow a goal from Dzeko, after fellow his New Zealand assistant referee Mark Rule had viewed the striker was offside prior to slotting the ball in the goal.

The referee also allowed Nigeria's winning goal despite claims from the Bosnia and Herzegovina team that their captain Emir Spahic had been fouled in the lead-up to the clincher.

After the game, Dzeko, who plays for English glamour club Manchester City, was asked what happened to his side's campaign, replying: ''The referee happened. We are going home, we are sad because of that, but the referee should go home, too. Because he changed the result, he changed the game, and that's why we lost.

''The referee was shameful for this competition.''

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