Spain Lodge Formal Complaint To World Rugby Citing Ireland Vs England Game

This is far from over.

The Spanish Rugby Federation have lodged an official complaint with World Rugby following their controversial loss to Belgium in the Rugby Europe Championship last weekend.

Spain needed to defeat Belgium in order to claim a spot in next year’s Rugby World Cup, but suffered an 18-10 loss at the hands of the Belgians, albeit under highly controversial circumstances.

The referee on the day was Romanian, which Spain feel was a huge conflict of interest. Spain’s loss meant Romania instead of them qualified for Japan. Spanish officials say they asked for the officials to be changed 20 days before the game.

They cite how Marius van der Westhuizen was removed from being an official for Saturday’s Grand Slam clash between Ireland and England at Twickenham because he took part in an England training session the week building up to the fixture.

Here’s the statement in full:

The Spanish Rugby Federation has presented on Tuesday a formal claim to World Rugby and Rugby Europe on the events that took place on the occasion of the Belgium – Spain match on Sunday 18 March. The claim bases the following arguments:

In the first place, there has been a violation of the principle of impartiality that must prevail in any sporting activity. The fact that the referee was Romanian having interests of the same Romanian Federation in the outcome of this meeting, breaks the required impartiality, since there is a conflict of interests that has not been respected.

In fact, the FER had requested 20 days before the meeting, once the interests of Romania were affected by the result of this game, the replacement of the three members. Application that was denied by Rugby Europe. The maintenance of the appointment of these arbitrators broke the guarantee of a transparent competition, leading to conflicts of interest, a circumstance that should be avoided in any sporting activity. The fact that the three arbitrators belonged to the Romanian Federation, some of them with positions of responsibility in the same, motivated the distrust on their impartiality. This simple suspicion should have been sufficient to assess the request of the Spanish Federation.

The law does not demand certainty, but fear of partiality, and in the case that we treat this way it was produced. In fact, on the previous Saturday a line judge of the England – Ireland match was substituted for less apparent reasons of bias than those in the case of the match we are dealing with.

Secondly, there has been a breach of the code of conduct established by World Rugby, since Regulation 20, in its appendix 1.7, establishes that no conduct or activity will be adopted inside or outside the field that could damage public confidence. in honesty and the regular conduct of a match. In the case we are dealing with, there were circumstances that did not guarantee this trust.

On the other hand, Regulation 18 6.1b of World Rugby allows that, if there has been a breach of the Statutes and / or regulations, there is the possibility of canceling the result of a match and / or the repetition of a match.

As evidence that the suspicion of alleged bias has been fulfilled, the FER has contributed a video in which 19 referee actions are collected during the course of the meeting in which it is clearly proven that the interests of the Spanish game during the encounter were harmed.

The FER trusts that World Rugby allows the repetition of the game since the image of rugby is being damaged by what happened in this match.