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World Rugby statement: Spain appeal 2023 RWC disqualification

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Spain have launched an appeal against the decision that has seen them thrown out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup where they had qualified to feature in a pool in France that included defending champions South Africa, Ireland and Scotland.

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The alleged tampering of a passport belonging to South African Gavin van den Berg, who played in two recent European qualifying matches, resulted in last month’s April 28 decision by World Rugby to deduct ten points from Spain, a verdict that would see Romania qualify as Europe 2 in Pool B and allow Portugal to replace Romania in the final qualification tournament next November. 

That verdict acknowledged that Spain had the right to lodge an appeal within 14 days of the date of the full written decision of the committee and they have now done so.

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A World Rugby statement read: “Spain have lodged an appeal against the independent judicial committee’s decision in respect of a breach of the World Rugby eligibility regulation in the context of Europe region Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifiers.

“Formal submissions by the union have been received following a short extension of the appeal deadline.

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“On May 5, an independent judicial committee determined that Spain breached the World Rugby eligibility regulation by fielding Gavin van den Berg in two Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification matches. The sanction imposed by the committee included a fine and points deduction resulting in Spain no longer qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. The union has appealed the committee’s decision and sanction.

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“An independent Appeal Committee comprising Wang Shao Ing (chair), Adam Casselden SC and John Langford will consider the appeal with the hearing date to be confirmed in due course.”

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