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World Rugby Release Statement Following Referee Controversy In Spain Vs Belgium Game

20 March, 2018, 04:29 | Author: Christina Hansen
  • Ireland World Cup opponent decider leads to ugly scenes of referee confrontation

World Rugby is looking into the appointment of a Romanian referee for a crucial match between Spain and Belgium that determined whether Romania qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Spain still have a chance at World Cup qualification, where they must beat Portugal in a playoff, then overcome a two-legged tie against Samoa for a spot in Pool A alongside hosts Japan, Scotland, Romania and Grand Slam champions Ireland.

Spain lost 18-10 in a match they needed to win to confirm their place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Spanish players fumed at the final whistle over the performance of Romanian official Vlad Iordachescu, with players having to be restrained from making physical contact with the referee.

"Everyone who has seen the game will judge the referee", he told Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

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"Rugby Europe Selection Committee is waiting for the assessment report of the Supervisor for Belgium v Spain Match officials", read a Rugby Europe statement.

"We have lodged a complaint with the European federation, with a copy sent to the global federation, for the refereeing commission to review the video of the match and judge whether the refereeing was deliberately in favour of Romania", said a statement from the Spanish body.

Controversially, Vlad Iordachescu - from Romania, who qualified at Spain's expense - was in charge of the clash and appeared to make a series of contentious decisions in Belgium's favour.

It has since emerged that Spanish officials last month requested that Rugby Europe - headed by Romanian Octavian Morariu - change the refereeing team to avoid a possible conflict of interests.

"We weren't allowed to play", said Spain coach Santiago Santos.

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The federation said Patrick Roben, president of Rugby Europe's referees' commission, denied the request because the match appointments were done weeks in advance.

"It has been reviewed and confirmed during the tournament based on referees' performance at worldwide level".

If they beat Portugal but lose to Samoa they will play in a four-team repechage event in November in a last attempt to qualify for the World Cup for the second time following their appearance in 1999. "He gave 10 penalties against us, the result comes from that". "When we were trying to come back in the game the play kept on being interrupted".

Jaime Nava, captain of Spain, said: "I don't want to think that rugby has been prostituted to leave us out".

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