Romania were expelled from the Rugby World Cup 2019 for fielding an ineligible player, according to a decision of the Judicial and Disputes committee, announced by World Rugby. The ruling is subject to appeal, however, and the Romanian Rugby Federation said it would challenge it.
Russia will replace Romania at the Rugby World Cup next year.
The committee, comprising Sir James Dingemans, Sir Peter Fraser and Lex Mpati, said it has found that Belgium, Spain and Romania fielded ineligible players and determined that each team be deducted five championship points for each game in which an ineligible player or players participated.
According to the press release announcing the decision, Belgium had fielded one or more ineligible players on seven occasions during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships (of which six matches related to Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying), and Spain had fielded one or more ineligible players on nine occasions during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships (of which eight matches related to Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying).
Romania has fielded one ineligible player on eight occasions during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships (of which six matches related to Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying), the committee said. The player in question is Sione Faka'osilea from Tonga, according to local News.ro.
Thus, the committee determined the deduction of 5 points for any match in which a union fielded an ineligible player, which means a 40-point deduction for Spain, and a 30-point deduction for both Belgium and Romania. Moreover, the three countries also received financial penalties, with Romania having to pay GBP 100,000.
Romania qualified for the Rugby World Cup 2019 in mid-March after Spain suffered a surprise 18-10 loss to Belgium. However, the Spain-Belgium match ended in scandal as the Spanish players said referee Vlad Iordanescu, a Romanian, favored the Belgian team. The Spanish Rugby Federation has officially called for a replay of the match with Belgium but the World Rugby committee decided that the match should not be replayed.
Irina Marica, email@example.com