Spain’s elimination from 2023 Rugby World Cup confirmed

By Piyush

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The sport’s Independent Appeal Committee declared, Spain’s appeal against their elimination from next year’s Rugby World Cup in France for fielding an unqualified player during the 2021-22 Rugby Europe Championship has been removed.

“The Independent Appeal Committee reviewed the original decision of the Independent Judicial Committee based on the evidence that was before it,” the Appeal Committee cited in a statement.

“Having considered detailed submissions from the Spanish Union and World Rugby, the Independent Appeal Committee dismissed the appeal.”

The committee stated that with respect to World Cup qualification, the 10-point deduction implemented to the European qualification table by the Independent Judicial Committee stands, which means Romania qualify as Europe 2 into Pool B replacing Spain.

Portugal replaces Romania in the Final Qualification Tourney in November 2022.

The Spanish Rugby Federation’s (FER) board of directors stated in April that 3 members of Alcobendas Rugby Club faked a copy of the passport belonging to Gavin van den Berg, who is of South African origin, in order to make him entitle to play.

Spain secured a World Cup spot for the first time since 1999 after concluding 2nd in the Rugby Europe Championship (REP) however were eliminated from next year’s tournament for fielding Van den Berg in 2 games in the qualifiers.

World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, initiated an investigation following a complaint about Van den Berg’s eligibility was filed by Romania, who had missed out on automatic qualification after ending just behind Spain.

In order to be entitle, Van den Berg would have required to spend 36 months residing in Spain, counting at least 10 months in each year.

Van den Berg had spent more than 2 months out of Spain in 2019.

He has not stated on the allegations however an independent judicial committee said his travel stamps had been modulated without the knowledge of Spain or the player.

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