Rugby World Cup 2019: Scottish Rugby fined over Typhoon Hagibis comments

The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) has been formally reprimanded and fined £70,000 (NZ$141,436) for criticism of the threatened cancellation of their World Cup Pool A game against Japan.

Chief executive Mark Dodson threatened legal action, if their crucial pool match against Japan in Yokohama was called off due to Typhoon Hagibis.

With Scotland needing a win to have a chance of progressing, Dodson said he did not want his side to be "collateral damage" of the fallout of the typhoon.

Dodson also hinted at legal action, if the match had not gone ahead, as the typhoon had already forced the cancellation of three matches - including the All Blacks' fixture against Italy. 

Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson.
Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson. Photo credit: Photosport

Ultimately, Japan's 28-21 victory saw them qualify at the top of the pool, while Scotland failed to reach the quarter-finals for only the second time in their history.

World Rugby says Dodson's comments "brought the game into disrepute".

"Prior to its decision, the committee gave the parties ample time to resolve the dispute," it says. 

"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 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. 

"Having considered all the evidence, including submissions by World Rugby and the SRU, 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 SRU suggested alternative wording, which included a mutual expression of regret from both parties - and no apology."

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

Typhoon Hagibis was one of the most powerful storms Japan had seen in many years and killed more than 80 people.