Romania booted from Rugby World Cup over ineligible players
15 May, 2018, 20:03 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
Russian Federation have qualified for next year's Rugby World Cup after Spain, Belgium and Romania were sanctioned for fielding ineligible players.
World Rugby said in a press release that in line with the decision of an independent disputes committee, "Russia will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 as Europe 1, joining Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the playoff victor in Pool A, while Germany will progress to the European playoff with Portugal, subject to the appeals process".
"While the independent disputes committee has determined that mistakes were not made in bad faith by Rugby Europe and some participating unions, World Rugby is extremely disappointed with the unfortunate and avoidable events", World Rugby said in a statement.
The winners will then face Samoa, with the victorious side sealing the final place in Ireland's World Cup pool.
World Rugby also handed out fines, suspended for five years, totalling 125,000 pounds ($170,000) for Belgium, 100,000 pounds ($135,000) for Romania, and 50,000 pounds ($67,000) for Spain. The loss was overseen by Romanian officials, and after the result - which initially handed Romania a spot in the World Cup - the post-match scenes turned ugly and the referee had to be escorted from the field.
In the aftermath, the eligibility of certain players in the tournament was also raised.
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World Rugby had originally meant to make Spain and Belgium replay that match - which was refereed by Romanian Vlad Iordachescu - but following counter-claims of eligibility infractions, commissioned an independent disputes committee to look into the matter.
However, an independent committee found that the result should stand, although they also ruled that Spain, Belgium and Romania had fielded ineligible players during the qualifying tournament.
As such, Spain were deducted 40 points, while Belgium and Romania were both docked 30 points.
Romania was disqualified from the 2019 Rugby World Cup on Tuesday after fielding ineligible players in qualifying.
World Rugby insisted that players would be released for the two matches, however, and revealed that it would fund the country's entry into next month's Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji.
Germany was promoted in place of Spain to a qualifying playoff against Portugal on June 9. World Rugby has disqualified Romania from the 2019 World Cup and given its place to Russian Federation.
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