Spain's slim World Cup hopes shattered....again
UPDATE: Spain’s appeal against World Rugby’s decision to disqualify them from the World Cup in France next year has been dismissed.
Spain were awarded a spot in the 2023 World Cup in Pool B alongside the likes of South Africa, Ireland and Scotland in March after qualifying through the Rugby Europe Championship.
Spain were then probed after a tip-off from the Romanian rugby union relating to South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg.
The investigation found Spain were guilty of fielding an ineligible player in Van der Berg, who featured in two qualification matches for Spain over the two-year cycle.
*READ: Spain launch appeal
Consequently, the sanction imposed included a deduction of five points for each of the matches he played (ten points in total) and a fine of £25,000, which saw them no longer qualify for the 2023 World Cup.
On Monday, Spain sought to introduce new evidence in their appeal, but the governing body refused to admit the new evidence.
World Rugby’s stated: “Following an appeal lodged by the Federación Española de Rugby (FER) (Spanish Union), an Independent Appeal Committee has upheld the original decision of the Independent Judicial Committee relating to breaches of player eligibility during the European regional Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification process.”
The ruling body revealed that Spain “had not adequately explained why this evidence was unavailable on reasonable enquiry ahead of the original hearing.”
It’s the second Rugby World Cup in a row that they have been thrown out of.
READ World Rugby Statement below:
“Following an appeal lodged by the Federación Española de Rugby (FER) (Spanish Union), an Independent Appeal Committee has upheld the original decision of the Independent Judicial Committee relating to breaches of player eligibility during the European regional Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification process.
On May 5, 2022, an Independent Judicial Committee determined that the Spanish Union 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 the Spanish national team no longer qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
An Independent Appeal Committee comprising Wang Shao Ing (Chair), Adam Casselden SC and John Langford (former player, Australia), was convened to examine the Spanish Union’s appeal of the committee’s decision and sanction.
In accordance with the scope of the appeals process, the Spanish Union needed to prove either that: a) the decision of the Independent Judicial Committee was in error; b) in the interests of justice that the decision should be overturned and/or c) that the sanction imposed was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle.
As part of its appeal, the Spanish Union sought to introduce new evidence that was not put before the Independent Judicial Committee. The Independent Appeal Committee carefully considered the Spanish Union’s arguments regarding why the new evidence should be admitted, examined all of the new documentary evidence, and decided not to admit it because:
- it determined that the Spanish Union had not adequately explained why this evidence was unavailable on reasonable enquiry ahead of the original hearing; and
- in any event it would not be in the interests of justice to do so after having regard for all of the circumstances, including consideration that part of the new evidence presented was not only incomplete, but contained allegations against the player and others relating to the alteration of a photocopy of a national identity document that was subject to ongoing investigations by the appropriate competent bodies in the Spanish jurisdiction.
The Independent Appeal Committee reviewed the original decision of the Independent Judicial Committee based on the evidence that was before it. Having considered detailed submissions from the Spanish Union and World Rugby, the Independent Appeal Committee dismissed the appeal.
In accordance with World Rugby regulations, the decision of the Independent Appeal Committee is final and binding with no further right to appeal.
With respect to Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification, the 10-point deduction applied to the Rugby World Cup 2023 European qualification table by the Independent Judicial Committee stands, meaning that Romania qualifies as Europe 2 into Pool B replacing Spain, and Portugal replaces Romania in the Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022.”