London: World Rugby has followed football’s authorities Fifa and Uefa in banning Russia from their competitions amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, rugby’s governing body confirmed its decision to ban Russia’s national side as well as the country’s domestic club teams. Russia’s Rugby Europe clash with Six Nations hopefuls Georgia was postponed almost as soon as the invasion of Ukraine began. And now their indefinite suspension has been confirmed by World Rugby, their chances of qualifying for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France now look over.
“World Rugby reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine and the facilitation of this action by Belarus,” World Rugby said in a statement.
“The global rugby family is united in standing in solidarity with everyone affected by these deeply disturbing events and joins the global community in calling for the restoration of peace,” it added.
Commenting on the development, World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont was quoted as saying by dailymail.com, “We have taken the decision to suspend Russia and Belarus from the international and cross-border competition with immediate effect until further notice. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”
World Rugby said banning Russia from their competitions as well as suspending them from membership of the governing body was in line with recommendations made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Belarus, who have supported Russian President Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Ukraine, are not a World Rugby member but their teams have also been banned.