World Rugby has confirmed that Russia will take its place in next year’s World Cup in Japan after appeals by Spain and Romania were rejected.
It relates to breaches of player eligibility by both countries during the 2019 World Cup qualification process.
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) June 6, 2018
An investigation was initially launched following Spain’s controversial loss to Belgium, which was refereed by Romanian official Vlad Iordachescu.
Following that enquiry, World Rugby stated their preference for the game to be replayed only for further information to come to light over player eligibility.
Spain, Romania and Belgium were then found to have breached those regulations, leading to points deductions and Russia being the beneficiary of the decision.
A statement read: “Following appeals lodged by Romania and Spain, an Independent Appeal Committee has upheld the decision of the Independent Disputes Committee relating to breaches of player eligibility during the European regional Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification process.
“On 15 May, an Independent Disputes Committee found that Belgium, Romania and Spain had breached World Rugby Regulation 8 by fielding players who were either ineligible to represent them or previously captured by another union. The Independent Disputes Committee issued competition points penalties as well as suspended fines. Romania and Spain subsequently lodged appeals.
“The Independent Appeal Committee also reinforced the Independent Disputes Committee’s statement that the case demonstrates that unions, acting in good faith, can make mistakes and that World Rugby should take steps to avoid a repeat of these circumstances.
“In accordance with World Rugby regulations, the decision of the Independent Appeal Committee is final and binding with no further right to appeal.”