Scotland sanctioned for ill comments at RWC before typhoon
DUBLIN (AP) — The Scottish Rugby Union was found guilty of misconduct on Thursday for inappropriate and ill-judged comments before its Rugby World Cup match with Japan and the arrival of Typhoon Hagibis.
An independent disputes committee chaired by English lawyer Christopher Quinlan gave a formal reprimand to the SRU, told the union to write a meaningful apology to World Rugby and tournament organizers, and fined the union 70,000 pounds ($89,000).
The winner of the Japan-Scotland pool game on Oct. 13 in Yokohama was guaranteed the last quarterfinal berth, but the match was at risk of being canceled, like three others in the area, because the typhoon was the strongest in 60 years to approach Japan.
SRU chief executive Mark Dodson threatened legal action if the match was scrapped rather than postponed and criticized tournament organizers and World Rugby for not having contingency plans and for rigidly sticking to the regulation that a game be canceled if it can't be played on the scheduled day.
The typhoon killed more than 80 people but the match went ahead on schedule and was widely considered to be the best of the tournament. Japan beat Scotland 28-21 to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.
The committee determined "comments attributed to Mark Dodson amounted to misconduct and brought the game into disrepute," World Rugby said in a statement.
World Rugby added it "strongly believed the comments, which suggested an unfair and disorganized treatment of all teams, to be inappropriate and ill-judged at a time when Japan was preparing for the largest and most destructive typhoon in decades."
"Such comments brought the game into disrepute, not only in relation to World Rugby's handling of an extraordinary situation, but also in the message that it sent to the Japanese people."
The committee gave Scotland and World Rugby a chance to resolve the dispute on their own. World Rugby said it asked Scotland to apologize and donate to the typhoon disaster relief fund. But it said Scotland preferred not to apologize, and rather make a statement expressing mutual regret by both parties.
The committee said in its sanctions that Scotland's apology must be in terms approved by the committee, and the fine will be donated to Childfund Pass It Back, which is assisting with typhoon disaster relief.