Scottish Rugby have been fined and have been told to write a ‘meaningful apology’ by World Rugby following their comments during the Rugby World Cup preceding Typhoon Hagibis disruption of the tournament.
The punishment arises out of comments made by SRU Chief Mark Dodson in the UK Telegraph newspaper, the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, and at the Scotland team announcement on 11 October 2019, in which he suggested the SRU would sue World Rugby, as well as criticising the running of the World Cup.
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.
Two charges were brought by World Rugby (under Rugby World Cup Limited) in line with the Rugby World Cup 2019 Terms of Participation and World Rugby Regulation 20.2 (Misconduct and Code of Conduct):
A statement reads:
“World Rugby strongly believed the comments, which suggested an unfair and disorganised treatment of all teams, to be inappropriate and ill-judged at a time when Japan was preparing for the largest and most destructive typhoon in decades.
“The international federation believed that such comments brought the game into disrepute, not only in relation to World Rugby’s handling of an extraordinary situation, but also in the message that it sent to the Japanese people.
“Having considered all the evidence, including submissions by World Rugby and the SRU, the committee determined in respect of the first charge that comments attributed to Mark Dodson amounted to misconduct and brought the game into disrepute.
“In respect of the second charge, the available evidence was insufficient for the committee to be satisfied on the balance of probabilities as to the source of the offending remarks and therefore it dismissed the charge.”
World Rugby says that the SRU is formally reprimanded for its conduct and have been fined £70,000.
Furthermore, World Rugby have told the SRU to “issue in writing a meaningful apology to World Rugby and RWCL for its misconduct in terms approved by the committee”.
The committee also noted that the fine will be donated to the Childfund Pass it Back programme on World Rugby’s instruction, assisting with the ongoing relief effort in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis.
Prior to its decision, the committee gave the parties ample time to resolve the dispute. World Rugby made an open offer to the SRU which required the SRU to apologise for its conduct and make a donation to the Typhoon disaster relief fund in Japan. The SRU suggested alternative wording which included a mutual expression of regret from both parties, and no apology.
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