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International Rugby Players call on World Rugby to take control after Rugby Europe mess

Ineligibility issues came to light after a recent Belgium v Spain fixture.

Image: Olivier Matthys

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY PLAYERS have called on World Rugby to take more control over global tournaments in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Rugby Europe Championship.

Last month, World Rugby announced it would carry out a full review into the Rugby Europe Championship match between Belgium and Spain after ineligibility issues came to light.

The official players representative body also requested greater transparency around the Rugby World Cup qualification process along with more accountability from Regional Associations.

“We support World Rugby’s efforts to eradicate any perceived manipulation of fair play,” said CEO of International Rugby Players, Omar Hassanein, in a statement.

“But this investigation highlights the need to closely monitor the activity of regional associations, particularly around Rugby World Cup qualification matches.

“Players, especially at Tier Two level, sacrifice a lot to follow their Rugby World Cup dream and, if integrity is undermined, it will erode the trust which exists between players, administrators and fans of our sport.

“The players deserve better than this.”

The International Rugby Players also welcomed World Rugby’s decision to form an independent disputes committee to examine issues around the Rugby Europe competition.

“We have seen how damaging it can be to the reputation of other sports when questions about integrity have been raised and are not dealt with properly,” added Hassanein.

“Competitions at all levels of the professional game need to be administered with the same high standards to preserve the integrity and values of our sport.”

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