Russian Federation benefit after Romania, Spain and Belgium deducted points

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Romania, Spain and Belgium were all deducted points from the European qualifying tournament for fielding players that were not qualified to play, leaving Germany to play Portugal for the right to play Samoa in the playoffs, the victor of which joins, Japan, Ireland, Scotland and Russian Federation in Pool A in the World Cup, which kicks off September 20, 2019, at Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium.

World Rugby hand down points deductions for Romania, Belgium and Spain after all three are adjudged to have fielded ineligible players.

World Rugby had originally meant to make Spain and Belgium replay that match - which was refereed by Romanian Vlad Iordachescu - but following counter-claims of eligibility infractions, commissioned an independent disputes committee to look into the matter.

That prompted World Rugby to launch an investigation and during that probe, the independent disputes committee discovered that all three teams had selected players that they should not have.

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The winners will then face Samoa, with the victorious side sealing the final place in Ireland's World Cup pool.

The issue came to light when Romania qualified for next year's showpiece event after Belgium claimed victory over Spain in controversial circumstances.

The FER pointed to several errors by the referee, Romanian Vlad Iordachescu, during an 18-10 defeat in Brussels in which the official had to be protected from irate Spanish players as he left the field.

"No further comment will be made while the 14-day appeal window is open". The countries were also handed fines, suspended for five years, of £25,000, £125,000 and £100,000 respectively.

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"While the independent disputes committee has determined that mistakes were not made in bad faith by Rugby Europe and some participating unions, World Rugby is extremely disappointed with the unfortunate and avoidable events, as expressed when announcing the convening of the independent committee".

"Regulation eight covering eligibility is essential to maintaining the unique characteristics and culture of elite competitions between unions, and the integrity of worldwide matches depends on strict adherence to eligibility criteria set out in the regulation".

BC-RGU-RWC 2019-Romania Disqualified, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 438Romania disqualified from Rugby World Cup, Russia promotedEds: Adds Rugby Europe quote, details.

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