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CEO 'brought game into disrepute'

Scottish Rugby fined £70,000 after Dodson comments

Mark Dodson, Scottish Rugby's chief executive

Ill-judged: Mark Dodson (pic: SNS Group)

The comments made by Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson in the build-up to the World Cup showdown against Japan have landed the organisation a £70,000 fine.

Dodson criticised World Rugby’s ‘rigidity’ as it considered cancelling the Pool A clash with Typhoon Hagibis approaching, indicating he would consider legal action if the winner-takes-all game didn’t go ahead.

World Rugby referred the matter to its disciplinary committee which has ruled that Dodson ‘brought the game into disrepute’.

As well as the fine, Scottish Rugby has been ordered to apologise to World Rugby.

A statement from the game’s governing body said: “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.

“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.

“Prior to its decision, the committee gave the parties ample time to resolve the dispute. 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.”

In response to today’s verdict, Scottish Rugby said: “We will now reflect on this outcome and further consider all our options, which may include arbitration.”

The fine will be paid into the Childfund Pass it Back programme on World Rugby’s instruction, assisting with the ongoing relief effort in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis.

Had the game been called off, Scotland would have been knocked out at the group stage. Following the cancellation of two games which were due to take place the previous day, World Rugby said it would make a decision on the day of the match about whether it could go ahead in Yokohama.

As it was, the match was staged as planned, Scotland heading home early after losing 28-21 to the hosts.

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