Players urge World Rugby to take more responsibility for game's integrity

Players urge World Rugby to take more responsibility for game's integrity
Omar Hassanein, CEO, IRUPA, speaking at the Zurich IRUPA Rugby Player Awards 2016. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE.

World Rugby must take more control over global tournaments or risk damaging the sport's integrity, the umbrella organisation that represents national player associations has warned.

International Rugby Players' call for greater oversight by the sport's governing body has come after the controversial finale to the European 2019 Rugby World Cup qualification tournament.

World Rugby has already announced that it has set up an independent disputes committee to review the circumstances surrounding Belgium's 18-10 win over Spain in Brussels on March 18th, which was officiated by a Romanian referee and touch judges.

Spain's defeat meant that Romania qualified for next year's tournament in Japan and the visitors were infuriated by referee Vlad Iordachescu's decision-making, prompting ugly scenes after the game.

It has since emerged that the Spanish Rugby Federation had asked Rugby Europe, the qualifying competition's organisers, to appoint different officials but were turned down. And the picture has grown even murkier with allegations that unspecified teams used ineligible players during the qualifying tournament.

For its part, Rugby Europe has convened an independent judicial panel into player conduct after the match in Brussels.

In a statement, the chief executive of the IRP, Omar Hassanein, said: "We support World Rugby's efforts to eradicate any perceived manipulation of fair play.

"But this investigation highlights the need to closely monitor the activity of regional associations, particularly around Rugby World Cup qualification matches.

"Players, especially at tier-two level, sacrifice a lot to follow their Rugby World Cup dream and, if integrity is undermined, it will erode the trust which exists between players, administrators and fans of our sport.

"The players in this situation deserve better than this. Competitions at all levels of the professional game need to be administered with the same high standards to preserve the integrity and values of our sport."

- Press Association

More in this Section

Fans’ group welcomes Premier League plans for more information during VAR checksFans’ group welcomes Premier League plans for more information during VAR checks

Football rumours from the mediaFootball rumours from the media

Mick McCarthy happy to sing Troy Parrott's praisesMick McCarthy happy to sing Troy Parrott's praises

Sonny Bill Williams not comfortable being compared to David Beckham or LeBron JamesSonny Bill Williams not comfortable being compared to David Beckham or LeBron James


Lifestyle

I’d always promised myself a day off school when Gay Bryne died.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I’ve been thinking about my students, wondering who their ‘Gay Byrne’ will be

In an industry where women battle ageism and sexism, Meryl Streep has managed to decide her own destiny – and roles, writes Suzanne HarringtonJeepers Streepers: Hollywood royalty, all hail queen Meryl

'Ask Audrey' has been the newspaper's hysterical agony aunt “for ages, like”.Ask Audrey: Guten tag. Vot the f**k is the story with your cycle lanes?

Daphne Wright’s major new exhibition at the Crawford addresses such subjects as ageing and consumerism, writes Colette SheridanFinding inspiration in domestic situations

More From The Irish Examiner