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Scottish Rugby fined for World Cup comments

Scottish Rugby has been fined £70,000 and ordered to apologise to World Rugby for criticism of the threatened cancellation of their World Cup Pool A game against Japan.

The match was in doubt because of the approaching Typhoon Hagibis and SRU chief executive Mark Dodson criticised World Rugby's "rigidity".

He hinted at legal action if the match had not gone ahead.

An independent disputes committee says he "brought the game into disrepute". "Prior to its decision, the committee gave the parties ample time to resolve the dispute," it said in a statement. "World Rugby made an open offer to the SRU, which required the SRU to apologise for its conduct and make a donation to the typhoon disaster relief fund in Japan.

"The SRU suggested alternative wording, which included a mutual expression of regret from both parties - and no apology."

Scottish Rugby has responded by saying "we will now reflect on this outcome and further consider all our options, which may include arbitration".

A cancellation of the game against the hosts would have eliminated Scotland and, after two matches scheduled for the previous day had been called off, World Rugby said it would make a decision on the day of the match about whether it could go ahead in Yokohama.

The game was played, but Scotland lost 28-21 and failed to reach the knock-out stage.

A committee, chaired by English QC Christopher Quinlan along with Australian Adam Casselden and New Zealander Nigel Hampton, concluded that Dodson's comments in a newspaper and the BBC Radio 4 Today programme "constituted misconduct".

The SRU has been "formally reprimanded", fined £70,000 and told to "issue in writing a meaningful apology to World Rugby and RWCL for its misconduct in terms approved by the committee".

"World Rugby strongly believed the comments, which suggested an unfair and disorganised 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," a statement said.

"The international federation believed that 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 fine will be donated to the Childfund Pass it Back programme on World Rugby's instruction, assisting with the ongoing relief effort in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis.

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