Spain will not play the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. On Tuesday, the information was announced by Le Figaro, and the information was made official on Thursday.
The decision – which is subject to appeal for two weeks – opens the door for Romania’s participation, as it appealed to the International Federation.
Portugal will be able to take part in the final qualifying tournament held in November 2022 in place of Romania.
In a separate statement issued shortly before the International Federation’s official decision, the Spanish Federation (FER), which does not mention its wish or not to appeal, said that the player concerned was the South African pillar Gavin van den Berg.
He had been lined up twice against the Netherlands (43-0 victories in 2020 and 52-7 in 2021) during the B Tournament, qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.
But he would not have completed the three years of presence in Spain without interruption of more than 60 days necessary to be eligible.
Since his debut in Spain in 2018, Marca reported that the player has made stays in South Africa that exceed what is permitted and would have presented a forged customs stamp to the authorities.
The independent committee mandated by the International Federation to study this case sanctioned Spain with a withdrawal of five points for each of the matches in which Gavin van den Berg took part and a fine of 25,000 pounds (nearly 30,000 euros).
The reprieve granted for a previous fine of £50,000 imposed on Spain for the same reasons in 2019 has been lifted, requiring Spain to pay the fine.
In 2018, Spain, Romania, and Belgium had already been sanctioned for using ineligible players, allowing Russia to participate in the 2019 World Cup in Japan.