Russia Qualifies for 2018 Rugby World Cup After Multiple Sanctions Affect Romania, Belgium and Spain

Russia is the lucky beneficiary of a surprise wave of sanctions applied to Romania, Spain and Belgium regarding their spots for the 2019 Rugby World cup. All three nations were sanctioned for using ineligible players in their qualifying games for the international competitions and Russia was lucky enough to trade places with Romania, that had secured their position, which suffered the harshest sanction.

Remodeling of the Qualification Process

The announcement regarding these sanctions came on the 15th of May and, due to all the chances, Russia emerged on top to participate in the World Cup taking place in Japan. This is their second presence at such an event after the 2011 fiasco where they lost all four games in the group stages. Germany also got a second chance and they will face Portugal in a play-off for a chance to play at the World Cup. Chances for the Germans are slim anyway because, no matter if they manage to pass Portugal, they will have to go through a two-legged play-off against Samoa and they would definitely have better chances winning at casino pokies online.

Uneven Penalties

It’s only natural that all three of the penalized nations feel that this decision was way too harsh, especially, since the measures seemed to have been applied unequally. For example, the investigation lead by the Judicial and Disputes committee, decided that Belgium will be penalized with 30 points along with a fine of 125000 pounds for their five ineligible players they have used.

Spain, that only used Bastien Fuster and Mathieu Belie, both previously playing for France U-20, faced a 50000 pounds fine and a 40-point deduction. In these circumstances, everyone is trying to figure out how the penalty system works and how are the number of deducted points and fine amounts are calculated.

Romania, who only had one ineligible player in the person of Sione Faka’osilea that played for Tonga Sevens previously, received a fine of 10000 pounds and the same amount of deducted points as Belgium, 30.

Appeals to Be Accepted Within 14 Days

All the decisions take by the Judicial and Disputes committee are subject to appeal in 14 days since the official announcement and Romania already responded to the penalties through a press release, in a hope to overturn the committee’s decision.

The Romanian Rugby Federation, abbreviated FFR, declared that it’s unacceptable that a nation that knowingly violates regulations and ignore previous warnings is treated the same way as one that always complied with procedural steps required.

Even More Controversy Around the Matches

As if things weren’t complicated enough already, Spain requested that their match against Belgium should be replayed because they had a Romanian referee and their shocking defeat against Belgium sent the Romanian rugby team to the World Cup, insinuating some kind of influence. Even though the appeal was also sustained by World Rugby, the independent committee refused the request and decided that the match will not be replayed since there is no evidence that the referee acted in bad faith or influenced the result in any way.

Also, the committee added that even though there were a lot of mistakes made by the participation nations and Rugby Europe, they did not identify any signs of bad faith and recommended to World Rugby to emphasize the sanctity and importance of Regulation 8 – regarding eligibility – as well as other regulations in order to prevent such incidents to happen in the future.

Russian Rugby Federation – The Sanctions are Fair

Of course, that the Russian Rugby Federation is very pleased that their arguments and appeals were heard by the committee since Romania, Spain and Belgium committed grave violations, in their opinion. Kirill Yashenkov, the deputy chairman of the Russian Rugby Federation declared that he is pleased to see that the matter of using ineligible players has been treated with maximum attention by the regulators and that the ones violating the rules have been properly sanctioned.