DAVID BARNES in TOKYO
A SCOTTISH RUGBY SPOKESMAN has acknowledged receipt of Rugby World Cup Ltd’s notice of complaint against his organisation, has questioned its appropriateness, and has indicated that Murrayfield is prepared to fight against any disciplinary proceedings which might arise.
The complaint relates to Scottish Rugby’s response to the threat last week that Scotland’s final World Cup pool match against Japan on Sunday might be cancelled if Typhoon Hagibis rendered the International Stadium Yokohama unplayable. Having failed to convince tournament organisers to consider a compromise solution last Thursday, SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson publicly urged World Rugby to rethink their stance in a radio interview and at a press briefing on Friday, revealing that he had taken legal advice and calling for the game to be rescheduled if required. “We’re not going to let Scotland be the collateral damage for a decision that was taken in haste,” he stated.
This prompted a near instantaneous rebuke from World Rugby, who described Dodson’s comments as “disappointing”.
In the end, the worst of the storm missed Yokohama and the game was able to go ahead as scheduled, with Japan worthy 28-21 winners, meaning Scotland were eliminated from the World Cup at the end of the pool stage.
However, Rugby World Cup Ltd have decided that they don’t want to let the issue lie, with under-fire tournament director Alan Gilpin (who is also World Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer) stating at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday that the SRU had been referred to World Rugby’s independent disputes committee.
It has been reported that the charge will be misconduct through bringing the game into disrepute and that the committee will be set up ‘as soon as possible’. A reprimand or a fine appears to be the most likely outcome, with Dodson understood to have half-anticipated that this would be World Rugby’s reaction but deciding that it was a price worth paying in the circumstances.
“Following receipt of correspondence yesterday from World Rugby, Scottish Rugby confirms that it has received a notice of complaint from Rugby World Cup Ltd,” said the SRU spokesman. “Scottish Rugby is querying whether the matter is an appropriate one for the bringing of Misconduct charges.
“If Misconduct proceedings are to proceed, Scottish Rugby looks forward to receiving a fair hearing in this matter. No further comment would be appropriate at this time.”
“Scottish Rugby once again expresses its sincere condolences to the people of Japan and all those affected by Typhoon Hagibis which struck last weekend. We have been able to convey our best wishes directly to the Mayor of Yokohama and the Chairman of the Japanese Rugby Union. We stand with the great people of Japan.