Spain will not play the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. On Tuesday, the information was announced by Le Figaro, and the information became official on Thursday.
The decision, which is under appeal for two weeks, opens the door for the participation of Romania, which has appealed to the International Union.
Portugal will replace Romania in the final qualifying tournament to be held in November 2022.
In a separate statement issued shortly before FI’s official decision, the Spanish Federation (FER), which did not mention whether it wanted to appeal or not, said the player in question was South African supporter Gavin van den Berg.
They were tied twice against the Netherlands (43–0 win in 2020 and 52–7 in 2021) during Tournament B to qualify for the 2023 World Cup.
But he would not have completed three years of presence in Spain without a break of more than the 60 days required to be eligible.
Since his debut in Spain in 2018, Marca reported that the player has had spells in South Africa exceeding what is allowed and has reportedly presented a fake customs stamp to the authorities.
The independent commission mandated by the International Federation to study the matter sanctioned Spain with a five-point withdrawal for each match Gavin van den Berg participated in and a fine of £25,000 (about 30,000 euros).
The previous £50,000 fine imposed on Spain in 2019 for the same reasons has been lifted, leaving Spain to pay the fine.
In 2018, Spain, Romania and Belgium were already cleared to use ineligible players, allowing Russia to participate in the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
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