The decision by the IRB to expel the Rugby Union of Russia (RUR) from RWC 2003 was ratified today (14th) after an independent Appeal Committee upheld the earlier decision.
A statement issued today said:
The International Rugby Board today announced the findings of an independent Appeal Committee appointed to consider the penalty imposed on the Rugby Union of Russia (RUR) following the finding last month that Russia had fielded three ineligible players in a Rugby World Cup qualifying match.
The Appeal Committee heard the appeal made by the RUR, particularly in relation to the penalties imposed, including the mandatory minimum fine of #25,000 per player.
After due consideration, the Committee confirmed the earlier finding of breach of the Regulations and ratified the expulsion of Russia from Rugby World Cup 2003.
The Committee, however, took into account the dramatic effect that the imposition of the #75,000 fine would have on the game in Russia and, under those circumstances, decided to suspend the fine for a period of three years.
If there are no further breaches of the Regulations within that period, the fine will be deemed to have been paid.
Mike Miller, Secretary General of the IRB, said,
“There has been a good deal of critical comment following the original judgement. In the aftermath of the so-called Grannygate incidents the Board readdressed the eligibility Regulations in order to provide a more effective sanction.”
“The penalties imposed in relation to earlier incidents were clearly inadequate, and tougher Regulations were introduced over two years ago. No meaningful comparison can therefore be drawn between sanctions then and sanctions now.”
“The penalty imposed last month was the minimum provided for under the Regulations, a penalty which was well known to every Union. In ratifying expulsion from Rugby World Cup, yet suspending the fine for three years, the Committee has shown both determination to stamp out abuse of the Regulations, and compassion for the financial circumstances of one of our most important developing Unions.”