Rugby: Romania, Spain and Belgium disqualified from World Cup 2019


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The World Rugby international federation announced on Tuesday that the national teams of Romania, Spain and Belgium have been disqualified from World Cup 2019, for using ineligible players.

A release posted on the World Rugby website reads that in respect of the sanctions, pursuant to Regulation 18, the independent committee determined the following:

  • The deduction of 5 points for any match in which a union fielded an ineligible player (40-point deduction for Spain, and a 30-point deduction for both Belgium and Romania). Therefore, based on a re-modelling of the Rugby Europe Championship tables in the context of Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying, Russia would qualify as Europe 1 into Pool A replacing Romania and Germany will replace Spain in the European play-off against Portugal;
  • World Rugby Regulation 8 stipulates mandatory financial penalties for breaches of £25,000 per ineligible player for a union not represented on the World Rugby Council and £100,000 for a union represented on Council. Therefore, the following financial sanctions will be applied, suspended for a period of five years conditional that no breaches occur during that period:
  • Belgium: £125,000 GBP (at a rate of £25,000 for a union not on Council x 5 ineligible players)
  • Spain: £50,000 GBP (at a rate of £25,000 for a union not on Council x 2 ineligible players)
  • Romania: £100,000 GBP (at a rate of £100,000 for a union on Council x 1 player)

The Independent disputes committee determined that, although mistakes were made by Rugby Europe and participating unions, they had not acted in bad faith. The committee also recommended that World Rugby re-emphasise the importance and sanctity of Regulation 8 and any other steps that will prevent a repeat of these circumstances. That was because it was desirable to take any steps which avoided the risks of qualification being determined off the pitch, the release reads.

World Rugby thus decides that Russia will qualify to the World Cup 2019.

In regard to the result of the match between Belgium and Spain (18-10), result challenged by Spain because it was officiated by a Romanian referee, Vlad Iordachescu, the decision is that the result remains unchanged.

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