Monday 23 April 2018

Players want higher standards for RWC qualifiers

Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu watches the action during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Europe Qualifier match between Belgium and Spain held at Little Heysel next to King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu watches the action during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Europe Qualifier match between Belgium and Spain held at Little Heysel next to King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

World Rugby must take more control over global tournaments or risk damaging the sport's integrity, according to the umbrella organisation that represents national player associations.

The call from the International Rugby Players (IRP) for greater oversight by the governing body has come after the controversial finale to the European 2019 Rugby World Cup qualification tournament.

World Rugby has already announced that it has set up an independent disputes committee to review the circumstances surrounding Belgium's 18-10 win over Spain in Brussels last month, which was officiated by a Romanian referee and touch judges.

Spain's defeat meant that Romania qualified for next year's tournament in Japan and the visitors were infuriated by referee Vlad Iordachescu's decision-making, prompting ugly scenes after the game.

It has since emerged that the Spanish Rugby Federation had asked Rugby Europe, the qualifying competition's organisers, to appoint different officials but were turned down. And the picture has grown even murkier with allegations that unspecified teams used ineligible players during the qualifiers.

"The players in this situation deserve better than this. Competitions at all levels of the professional game need to be administered with the same high standards," stated the chief executive of the IRP, Omar Hassanein.

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