Did Romanian ref act under orders?
EXCLUSIVE: As Rugby Europe is placed under the microscope following the Belgium-Spain fiasco, former Spanish international Guillermo Barcena reveals information about the organisation that many may not have known.
Watch all the dirty details being revealed from the 26th minute!
Spain last appeared at the showpiece event in 1999. Their Sevens team qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games which has helped boost the image and participation of the game in the country.
With recent revelations of ineligible players representing Tier Two countries during the World Cup qualifiers, it now seems that there has a form of colluding to ensure Romania's safe passage into the showpiece event in Tokyo.
"One of the things that weren't mentioned was the financial angle. Spain losing that game meant they won't get €600 000 from World Rugby [for qualifying] and actually, Romania is getting that cash.
"That being said, you realise that the referee of that game is on the payroll of the Romanian Federation and basically, he can influence - by his decisions - the financial solidity of his employer. That is a fact and a serious conflict of interest," Barcena said.
Based on these revelations, it would seem that Rugby Europe's are clean regarding the outcome of the game, however, that does not seem to be the case when you take the following into account.
"A month before the match, Spain beat Romania and it became clear that the critical game for [Spain's] qualification was the match against Belgium. Then everyone realised there are three Romanian officials named for that game.
"At that point in time, the Spanish Union sent a request [to Rugby Europe] to change the referee to a neutral country and have a TMO. Both were rejected by Rugby Europe, which is directed by a Romanian [Octavian Morariu]," he added.
Spain is not taking all of these "coincidences" lightly and has escalated their grievances to World Rugby.
"After the Belgium-Spain game, the Spanish Union filed a complaint with Rugby Europe, who have nominated a committee of six individuals. They met recently and have decided to move the outcome of the meeting to a later date but in the meantime, the Spanish Union has escalated the complaint to World Rugby, so I believe they are now looking into the matter," Barcena stated.
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