Rugby Europe saga
28 March, 2018, 12:00 am
Rugby Europe is seeking more information before taking a decision on the performance of the officials in the Belgium-Spain World Cup qualifier that prompted calls by Spanish rugby authorities for a replay, the governing body said yesterday.
Spain’s rugby federation appealed for a replay because of the performance of Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu in the 18-10 defeat by Belgium on March 18, which allowed Romania to qualify for the 2019 World Cup at Spain’s expense.
“Rugby Europe board of directors held a conference call this evening to share and discuss the elements related to the Spain-Belgium game, Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifier,” Rugby Europe said in a statement.
The body began its analysis of the match in Brussels on Friday, saying it regretted the controversy surrounding the fixture.
“Rugby Europe General Secretary recalled the facts and submitted the reports of the different people and groups who have been consulted,” the body said.
“Board members unanimously requested additional information (in particular those provided straight ahead of the meeting to World Rugby) before taking an accurate decision.”
Some ugly confrontations broke out at the final whistle as members of the Spanish coaching staff tried to restrain their team.
Referee Iordachescu, who was pursued by furious Spain players and several irate supporters, needed to be escorted off the pitch by competition officials.
A win over Belgium on a mud-caked pitch in Brussels would have secured Spain second place behind already-qualified Georgia in the Rugby Europe Championship standings and a ticket to Japan.
Rugby Europe said that a new meeting has been planned for Thursday.
An online petition on change.org calling for the match to be replayed has gained almost 44,000 signatures.