Cyprus dealt crippling blow
The International Rugby Board has provided clarification regarding the membership application status of the Cyprus Rugby Federation.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) has provided clarification regarding the membership application status of the Cyprus Rugby Federation.
Cyprus, who are on an 18-match winning streak, were hoping to receive clearance to play the top team in Division 2D in the opening round of European World Cup qualifying on May 4.
However, they were recently informed that they are not allowed to attempt to qualify for the 2015 World Cup.
The IRB in a statement explained: "Under IRB Bye-Laws a national Union must be affiliated to the International Federation as a full Member Union in order to participate in Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
"The Cyprus Rugby Union is currently not in membership of the IRB. In order to participate in the qualification process as with all Unions, the Union must first seek and achieve Associate Member status and then apply for and achieve full Member Union status. The criteria and timelines are clearly defined under the IRB Membership Pathway and Criteria.
"The IRB welcomes the application by the Cyprus Union to seek Associate Membership status in accordance with the Pathway, Criteria and Bye-Laws and is delighted that the Union has strong ambitions to join the 117 Unions in membership of the IRB and participate in future RWC qualifying processes.
"However, despite the strong performances of the national team in the FIRA-AER European Nations Cup, the IRB Executive Committee determined that Cyprus does not currently meet all of the necessary membership criteria.
“The IRB Executive Committee does note that the Union is working in partnership with the FIRA Regional Association to achieve the criteria and will reconsider the application in October.
"The IRB is committed to working with its Regional Associations and national Unions to grow the Rugby community around the world."
Cyprus Rugby Federation president Lawrence Vasiliades commented: “The CRF regrets that the IRB has taken this decision which we believe will have severe and detrimental effects on Cyprus rugby, especially due to the economic and continuous crisis that has affected the nation recently.
“It is a well know fact that sports will be directly affected by the economic crisis and as such the participation of Cyprus in the biggest rugby event in the world would have been a way to curb the inevitable downgrading of rugby events and development in Cyprus.”