Russian Federation qualify after Spain, Belgium and Romania sanctioned


Confirmation comes after an independent judicial and disputes committee found Belgium, Spain and Romania fielded ineligible players in the Rugby Europe Championship and docked them competition points.

Romania, Belgium and Spain were all deducted five tournament points for each fixture in which they fielded an ineligible player.

At the final whistle Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu was surrounded by infuriated Spanish players.

Romania have been disqualified from the 2019 Rugby World Cup after fielding ineligible players in qualifying.

As a result, matches against them in the Rugby Europe Championship did not count towards qualification and while some of the games in which ineligible players were fielded were against Georgia, the review committee found enough examples of foul play elsewhere to dock sufficient points for Russian Federation and Germany to advance.

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The victor will play Samoa in a World Cup play-off for the right to join Ireland's Pool A at Japan 2019. The victor will then face Samoa for a place in the World Cup.

"The Romanian Rugby Federation (FFR) can not accept a decision in which teams that knowingly violate regulations or ignorance are treated identically to those who comply with all procedural steps required", the FFR said in a statement.

A 14-day appeal window is now open if those involved to challenge the ruling.

The committee accepted that both parties had acted in good faith but chose to dock Romania 30 points - five for each match played in qualifying.

World Rugby said it will oversee the appointments of all future match officials in Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

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Faka'osilea played 13 internationals for his adopted nation Romania since his debut past year.

Spain had requested that their qualifier against Belgium, a game officiated by a Romanian, be replayed.

World Rugby also announced that the rescheduling of Samoa's Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification matches.

The sport's governing body went on to say that "Fans who have purchased tickets for Rugby World Cup 2019 matches involving Romania via official channels will be entitled to a full refund for the face value of the ticket should they not wish to attend".

Recognizing this, the independent committee added in its report: "World Rugby might want to consider whether to maintain a database showing players who have been captured by Unions".

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