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Scotland facing lawsuit threat punishment

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Scotland could face punishment over lawsuit threat

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Scotland could face punishment for their “comments and behaviours” in threatening legal action when their World Cup match against Japan was under threat of cancellation. World Rugby has confirmed it will convene a hearing of its independent disputes committee, in light of Scotland Rugby Union (SRU) chief executive Mark Dodson threats to sue last week.

A statement issued on Tuesday read: “Rugby World Cup can confirm that it has issued misconduct charges against the Scottish Rugby Union in relation to recent comments made about Typhoon Hagibis and its potential impact on the Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool A match between Japan versus Scotland.

“The case will be decided by an Independent Disputes Committee and Rugby World Cup will not make any further comment on this matter pending the outcome.”

Dodson hit out at World Rugby’s plans to cancel Scotland’s final Pool A clash with Japan on Sunday if Typhoon Hagibis had left the Yokohama Stadium unsafe for action. World Cup organisers managed to stage the match, with Japan defeating the Scots 28-21 and reaching the quarter-finals at their foes’ expense. But now Scotland could face sanction for their conduct in the days leading up to that clash.

“We’ve referred to the independent disputes committee the comments and behaviours of the Scottish Rugby Union,” said World Rugby chief operating officer Alan Gilpin. “On that basis it’s probably inappropriate to comment any further.”

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Dodson revealed in an extraordinary snap press conference on Friday that the SRU planned to sue World Rugby should the Japan clash be cancelled. Typhoon Hagibis forced the cancellation of England against France and New Zealand’s clash with Italy, with Canada and Namibia’s meeting in Kamaishi also falling foul of Japan’s biggest storm since 1958.

Rugby World Cup rules state that any pool-stage match deemed unplayable due to the weather cannot be staged on a different day. Scotland felt those regulations were open to challenge due to “force majeure” measures, with Dodson repeatedly demanding a “common sense approach”.

Gilpin insisted on Tuesday that all appropriate tournament rules had been followed during the typhoon. “Our sympathies are with the families of those who lost loved ones and the millions affected by Typhoon Hagibis,” said Gilpin.

 

“We were very clear with everyone before the tournament about the detailed contingency plans in place but also tournament rules about how contingency plans could be implemented. Tournament rules for Rugby World Cup specify that for the pool phase any match not completed on the day scheduled will be not moved to a different day. This is clear in the tournament rules and not new at Rugby World Cup 2019.

“Those contingency plans were in place, including back-up venues. But the rules do not allow for postponements to be affected in pool matches. What became clear was the incredible size of the typhoon, with it being 1400km wide only three match venues were outside of the typhoon’s path.

“We were not able to implement contingency plans that would treat all matches and teams consistently and fairly. We would only vary those rules if we could treat all teams consistently and fairly. But we couldn’t. So that led to the difficult decision to cancel two matches on Saturday.

“We did have contingency venue plans for the other three matches on the Sunday, but they were always dependent on damaged caused by the typhoon. Pleasingly of course we played those three matches as scheduled.

“We were consistent with everything laid out before the tournament. While we had appropriate discussions with a number of unions, no decisions were based on pressure from any particular unions. And it’s also important to clarify that we did not have those discussions with Ireland.”

– Press Association

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Scotland could face punishment over lawsuit threat