Russian Federation qualify for World Cup thanks to World Rugby's heavy sanctions

Tanya Cunningham
Мая 15, 2018

Russian Federation will join Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the play-off victor in Pool A of the 2019 Rugby World Cup after the independent disputes committee appointed by World Rugby docked Belgium, Romania and Spain points for fielding ineligible players during the controversial Rugby Europe competition.

Sione Faka'osilea was ineligible for Romania, Mathieu Belie and Bastien Fuster for Spain, and five players for Belgium, because they previously played for national teams that tied them to countries of their birthplace or weren't qualified by heritage.

Romania, Belgium and Spain were all deducted five tournament points for each fixture in which they fielded an ineligible player.

The victor of that match will go on to play Samoa in a two-legged tie for a place in Pool A.

"Spain had fielded one or more ineligible players on nine occasions during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships (of which eight matches related to Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying)".

Romania, Spain and Belgium were all found to have selected ineligible players during the qualifying tournament and all disqualified from the event.

Spain were docked a total of 40 points by the independent disputes committee while Romania and Belgium were both docked 30 points each in the tournament for fielding ineligible players during the tournament.

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Subject to any appeal, the Manu will host the victor of the European play-off between Germany and Portugal in Apia on June 30th, with the return leg in Europe on July 14th.

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 worldwide matches depends on strict adherence to eligibility criteria set out in the regulation".

"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.

The aggregate victor qualify for Japan 2019 with the loser to get one final chance via the repechage competition in November.

"Having considered all the evidence, including submissions from World Rugby, Rugby Europe, Spain and Belgium, the independent committee refused the request made by World Rugby and Spain to set aside the result of the match and determined that the match should not be replayed", the committee said in a statement.

The independent disputes committee claimed that the appointment of Iordachescu was 'not made in bad faith and that there was not sufficient justification to overturn the result because of the "appearance of bias".

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