European Rugby to discuss Spanish refereeing controversy

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March 24, 2018 10:55 am Published by

PARIS (AFP) – 

Rugby Europe board members will on Monday discuss a report from their referees’ committee on Belgium’s disputed 2019 World Cup qualifying win over Spain that was officiated by a Romanian and benefited Romania.

Victory for Spain last Sunday would have given them an automatic place in the World Cup in Japan next year, but Belgium won 18-10 in Brussels to send Romania through instead.

At the final whistle, referee Vlad Iordachescu, was surrounded by outraged Spanish players.

The Spanish rugby federation, who had requested before the match that the trio of Romanian officials be switched, have now asked that the match be replayed because of 19 decisions they believe were unfair to their team.

Rugby Europe, whose president Octavian Morariu is also Romanian, released a statement on Friday saying its “referees? selection committee met today in Poznan (Poland) to analyse the performance of the referees on the Belgium/Spain game.”

The FER statement said that “the assessment will be provided to Rugby Europe Board members and to World Rugby, in accordance with their request” (for an explanation). It said a conference call of Rugby Europe Board members would be held on Monday.

“The current situation is a matter of regret for Rugby Europe, who would like to express its willingness to communicate in a transparent way, to avoid damaging allegations for the image and values of our sport, the teams and the refereeing.”

FER have also said that the analysis of the match should be conducted by an outside committee.

If the result stands, Spain can still qualify for the World Cup by beating first Portugal and then former quarter-finalists Samoa.

© 2018 AFP

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