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Scotland threaten World Rugby with legal action over typhoon decision

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11th October, 2019
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A war of words has broken out between World Rugby and the Scottish Rugby Union over the potential postponement of Japan’s clash with Scotland.

Murrayfield chief executive Mark Dodson has threatened legal action over the sport’s governing body.

Dodson has urged the global governing body to see sense and push Sunday’s win-or-bust showdown with Japan out of Super Typhoon Hagibis’ path of destruction.

He made his call as he refused to rule out taking legal action to make sure the climax to Pool A at Yokohama’s International Stadium goes ahead.

But that sparked an angry response from World Rugby, who said they were “disappointed” with Dodson’s comments after insisting the Scots were happy to sign up to the rules which prohibit pool matches being rescheduled before the tournament.

Scotland could be knocked out of the competition without kicking another ball if the “explosive” super storm forces Sunday’s quarter-final decider to be cancelled.

Dodson wants the game pushed back 24 hours, claiming World Rugby would be risking the “sporting integrity” of the competition if they stick to their decision that the game must be played on Sunday or not at all.

Japan Rugby Union

(WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

The tournament organisers insisted the SRU were happy to sign up to the World Cup’s “terms of participation” – which sets out the ban on rescheduling pool matches – before the tournament kicked off.

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In a statement, the governing body said: “It is disappointing that the Scottish Rugby Union should make such comments at a time when we are doing everything we can to enable all Sunday’s matches to take place as scheduled.

“When there is a real and significant threat to public safety owing to what is predicted to be one of the largest and most destructive typhoons to hit Japan since 1958.”

It added: “The core principle that could enable us to explore a departure from the terms of participation, is a fair and consistent application of the rescheduling for all teams in a safe environment for teams, fans and essential match services.

“The sheer predicted scale and impact of the typhoon, and the complexity of team movements for eight matches, meant that an even-handed application was just not possible without putting safety at risk.

“Therefore, it was the fair and correct decision for all teams to maintain the position outlined in the terms of participation.”

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Earlier, Dodson revealed he had sought expert legal opinion which says the tournament organisers do have the right under “force majeure” measures to reschedule pool matches despite World Cup rules clearly stating they may only go ahead on their originally planned date.

The 1400km-wide Hagibis has already forced the cancellation of England vs France and New Zealand vs Italy – ending the Azzurri’s faint hopes of reaching the last eight – on Saturday and World Rugby say it would not be fair to bend the rules for the Scots.

© AAP