Russia have qualified for the 2019 Rugby Wolrd Cup in remarkable circumstances as Spain, Belgium and Romania were docked points for fielding ineligible players, according to a report on BBC Sport.
There was a lot of controversy surrounding Romania’s initial qualification as Spain missed out after losing to Belgium, a match that was officiated by a Romanian referee.
The Spaniards believed that the referee was intentionally not giving them decisions and this resulted in the players physically attacking him.
However, after further investigation, it was discovered that all three teams broke eligibility rules and docked points, resulting in Russia profiting.
A statement from World Rugby said:
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, as expressed when announcing the convening of the independent committee.
The committee’s decision and findings clearly demonstrate issues with the processes adopted by some of the participating unions relating to the eligibility of players as well as the delivery and organisation of the Rugby Europe Championship.
The Russians now join Ireland, Scotland and Japan in Pool A. Romania have already lodged an appeal against the decision and claim that their player in question got full permission to play.
All three countries have 14 days to appeal against the decision.