SRU braced for six-figure fine from World Rugby

The Scottish Rugby Union could be facing a six-figure fine from World Rugby over comments made by chief executive Mark Dodson ahead of their Typhoon-threatened pool-deciding match against Rugby World Cup hosts Japan, The Scotsman understands.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 2:38 pm
Japan beat Scotland 28-21 after a fraught build-up to the Pool A finale in Yokohama in the wake of Super Typhoon Hagibis. Picture: Getty Images

Scottish Rugby has been waiting to hear its fate from the "Independent Disputes Committee" set up to rule on what the world governing body deemed to be remarks that required an unprecedented misconduct charge.

The Scotsman understands that is likely to be a significant six-figure fine, potentially without recourse to appeal.

Ahead of the crunch Pool A Japan v Scotland match in Yokohama, Dodson made it clear that he would not allow the match to be cancelled, as others had such as France v England and Italy v New Zealand, unless all avenues were pursued to let the game be played.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

World Rugby and tournament organisers had pointed to the participation agreement signed by all countries which stipulated any group game not fulfilled on the stated day would be a null and void 0-0 draw. Dodson had pointed to smallprint in that agreement which made allowances for exceptional circumstances or force majeure.

In the end, after the devastating Typhoon Hagibis which claimed almost 100 lives had past the area, the Japan-Scotland game did take place in front of a rapturous Yokohama Stadium, with the inspired hosts winning 28-21 to reach the quarter-finals and send the Scots home.

Before the match, Dodson said; “My view is that we are not going to let Scotland be the collateral damage for a decision that was taken in haste."

Mr Dodson also made clear throughout his press conference in Yokohama that preservation of public safety was of the utmost importance and stressed the strong rugby links between Scotland and Japan.

In response, Rugby World Cup tournament director Alan Gilpin said: “The tournament rules are clear about appropriate behaviour. As a result, we have asked an independent disputes committee to look at the behaviour and comments of the Scottish union."

Questions have been asked about the legitimacy of the "independent disputes committee" and it's understood a face-to-face hearing has been asked for.

After approaches by The Scotsman to World Rugby and tournament organisers, it seems now it will be after tomorrow's final between England and South Africa before a formal announcement is made.

When made, it seems certain the SRU will seek recourse to some sort of appeals body. The Court of Arbitration for Sport if necessary.