Romania disqualified from Rugby World Cup

15 May, 2018, 22:56 | Author: Irvin Gilbert
  • Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu watches the action during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Europe Qualifier match between Belgium and Spain held at Little Heysel next to King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels Belgium

Russian Federation have received a late call-up for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan after Romania were docked points for fielding ineligible players during the European qualifying tournament.

The winners of that go into a Europe/Oceania play-off against Samoa for the chance to complete Pool A at next year's global showpiece.

Tuesday's announcement is the latest twist to a complicated and controversial series of matches as, following an investigation by the independent Judicial and Disputes committee, the three nations were docked five match points for each ineligible player used.

In its conclusion to the review, the disputes committee said: "For the detailed reasons set out above: (1) we have not set aside the result of the match on 18 March 2018; and (2) we have found that Belgium, Spain and Romania fielded ineligible players in RWCQ and Rugby European games and determined that each Union should have deducted 5 points for each game in which an ineligible player or players played".

Subsequently, five Spanish players were banned for their part in the post-match rows.

World Rugby said it is "extremely disappointed with the unfortunate and avoidable events" and added: "Regulation 8 covering eligibility is essential to maintaining the unique characteristics and culture of elite competitions between unions, and the integrity of global matches depends on strict adherence to eligibility criteria set out in the regulation".

The committee accepted that both parties had acted in good faith but chose to dock Romania 30 points - five for each match played in qualifying.

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A probe by the world governing body's independent disputes committee then found that all three teams had players who were not allowed.

The deduction also means Germany replace Spain as the second ranked team in the Rugby Europe Championship and they will play Portugal for the right to play-off against Samoa, with the play-off victor also joining Ireland in Pool A.

"World Rugby Regulation 8 stipulates mandatory financial penalties for breaches of 25,000 pounds per ineligible player for a union not represented on the World Rugby Council and 100,000 pounds for a union represented on Council", the press release said.

World Rugby also announced that the rescheduling of Samoa's Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification matches.

"However, the invitation to overturn a result because of the "appearance of bias" or because of the unsatisfactory way that Rugby Europe dealt with the proper request made by Spain to remove the match officials, is in our judgment not sufficient".

"World Rugby is committed to addressing these issues and will lead a review of European tournament delivery in the context of Rugby World Cup qualifying in full partnership with Rugby Europe".

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