World Rugby welcomes the conclusion of the independent disciplinary process relating to the European qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2019 and is determined to avoid a repeat of these unfortunate circumstances in the future.

Confirmation that the decision of the Independent Disputes Committee stands following a detailed review by an Independent Appeal Committee, means that Russia are confirmed as Europe 1 and will take their place in Pool A at Rugby World Cup 2019, while Germany will host Portugal on 16 June with the winner progressing to face Samoa in Apia on 30 June and in Europe on 14 July. 


While the independent Committee, comprising significant playing and legal experience determined that mistakes were made by Belgium, Romania and Spain, World Rugby is committed to ensuring that key learnings are actioned in partnership with unions and regional associations to enhance Regulation 8 (national team eligibility) understanding and compliance by all: 

  • World Rugby to undertake a full review of eligibility processes operational within the game with the objective of ensuring universal best-practice and compliance
  • World Rugby will partner with unions and International Rugby Players to ensure that all young international players are educated regarding Regulation 8
  • While eligibility compliance is the responsibility of the player and union, World Rugby will explore the viability of a universal eligibility database of players who have been ‘captured’ by an international team, supplementing significant support already given to unions by World Rugby in assisting with eligibility enquiries
  • World Rugby will oversee match official appointments at all stages of future Rugby World Cup qualifiers, not just the matches that it runs
  • World Rugby is undertaking a full review of Rugby Europe tournament delivery in the context of Rugby World Cup qualification in partnership with the regional association

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “While World Rugby welcomes the conclusion of the independent disputes process, it is important that the game learns from what were an unfortunate set of circumstances to prevent this from happening again, and I am committed to leading a review that will deliver a robust and efficient system of ensuring compliance. 

“With the full support of our unions and regional associations, World Rugby will undertake a full review of Regulation 8 process and compliance to enhance best practice, identify how we can further assist our unions, ensure our young players are appropriately educated on the regulation, and have complete oversight and approval of match official appointments for future Rugby World Cup qualifiers.”