The Scottish Rugby Union has been hit with a £70,000 fine for comments made by chief executive Mark Dodson about Typhoon Hagibis during the World Cup.
Scotland’s match with host nation Japan was in doubt due to the tropical storm which would go on to claim the lives of 88 people.
Dodson threatened legal action and insisted he would not allow Scotland to become ‘collateral damage’ and had the fixture not gone ahead, they would have exited the competition without having played their group game.
With Scotland needing to win to have a chance of progression, they were eventually beaten 28-21 and crashed out.
In announcing the decision of an Independent Disputes Committee, World Rugby said Dodson’s comments, ‘which suggested an unfair and disorganised treatment of all teams’, merited an official reprimand, a written apology and a £70,000 fine.
But amid the uncertainty of whether or not the fixture would be played at the Yokohama Stadium, Dodson has refused to rule out taking legal action in the event of a postponement.
“I think our view is that we have to reflect on that matter at that time. This is a glorious, world-class sporting occasion. We don’t want to be the people that taint that. But we also don’t want to be the collateral damage of this,” Dodson, who repeatedly asked for a ‘common-sense approach’, said at a snap press conference when asked if action could be taken.
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“And that’s why we took the legal route. It was just to say we’ve had a different opinion, two different opinions, one from the QC, that challenges that rigidity over scheduling.”
In its statement, World Rugby said it had invited the SRU to make an apology and a donation to the Typhoon disaster relief fund, but that the SRU had ‘suggested alternative wording which included a mutual expression of regret from both parties, and no apology’.
“The committee determined in respect of the first charge that comments attributed to Mark Dodson amounted to misconduct and brought the game into disrepute,” the statement continued.
World Rugby added that the fine would 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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