Russian Federation qualify for 2019 World Cup in Japan after Romania docked points
15 May, 2018, 21:50 | Author: Tommie Newton
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.
Following a review by an independent disputes committee into matters relating to the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championship, competitions that doubled as a Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification event, World Rugby docked the three nations five match points every time ineligible players were used.
"Russia will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 as Europe 1, joining Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the play-off victor in Pool A, while Germany will progress to the European play-off with Portugal, subject to the appeals process", said a World Rugby statement today.
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.
There is a 14-day window for appeals by all parties.
They are scheduled to play Japan in the tournament's opening match on September 20 next year at the Tokyo Stadium.
In reference to the entire investigation, the committee added: "Although mistakes were made by Rugby Europe and participating unions, they had not acted in bad faith".
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.
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In the aftermath, the eligibility of certain players in the tournament was also raised.
The change comes after an investigation led to three teams in the European qualifiers being deducted points.
Belgium were found to have fielded five ineligible players and were docked 30 points along with a suspended fine of 125,000 pounds ($168,988).
A Romanian match official Vlad Iordachescu had been appointed to officiate at the match with Romania winning 18-0 and advancing to the Rugby World Cup pool stages.
World Rugby also announced that the rescheduling of Samoa's Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification matches.
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.
"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".
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