Spain Kicked Out of Rugby World Cup

    Photo: Europe Press Sports/Getty Images [via ABC News]

    The Facts

    • A World Rugby independent judicial committee ruled on Thurs. that Spain had fielded an ineligible player when qualifying for the Rugby World Cup 2023, causing the nation to be kicked out of the competition.

    • South African-born prop Gavin Van den Berg appeared in two games for Los Leones during the Europe Championship, leading Romania to question his eligibility on residency grounds.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The penalty is neither reasonable nor fair. The Spanish Federation were deceived by a passport falsification, and informed World Rugby when they became aware of it. Furthermore, van den Berg signed a document declaring he was eligible to play for Los Leones.

    Narrative B

    Van den Berg may have intentionally misled the Spanish Federation and committed fraud, but it was the Federation's responsibility to confirm his eligibility. Regulations are clearer than they were when a similar situation occurred in 2019, and an Eligibility Committee was even formed to prevent this from happening; the Spanish have no excuse.

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