International Rugby Players has called on World Rugby to take more control over global tournaments, after the fallout from the recent Rugby Europe Championship.
The official players representative body also called for greater transparency around the Rugby World Cup qualification process, aligned with enhanced accountability from Regional Associations.
It follows World Rugby’s announcement that it will investigate the recent Rugby Europe Championship match between Belgium and Spain and the ineligibility issues that subsequently came to light.
“We support World Rugby’s efforts to eradicate any perceived manipulation of fair play,” said CEO of International Rugby Players, Omar Hassanein.
“But this investigation highlights the need to closely monitor the activity of regional associations, particularly around Rugby World Cup qualification matches.
“Players, especially at Tier Two level, sacrifice a lot to follow their Rugby World Cup dream and, if integrity is undermined, it will erode the trust which exists between players, administrators and fans of our sport. The players in this situation deserve better than this.”
International Rugby Players welcomes World Rugby’s decision to form an independent disputes committee to examine issues around the Rugby Europe competition.
“We have seen how damaging it can be to the reputation of other sports when questions about integrity have been raised and are not dealt with properly,” added Hassanein.
“Competitions at all levels of the professional game need to be administered with the same high standards to preserve the integrity and values of our sport.”
Melbourne Rebels openside flanker Richard Hardwick was out cold before he even hit the ground after a head clash with Emiliano Boffelli on the weekend. Commentators suggest it was competition for squad places that may have lead to the incident.