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FOOTBALL

Football Federation calls in lawyers after police raid

The German Football Federation (DFB) have taken legal advice in the wake of the police raid on their offices under a suspicion of establishing a monopoly.

Both the DFB premises and those of the German Football League (DFL) were raided on Tuesday afternoon after a search warrant was issued by the district court in Bonn.

Documents were seized by plain-clothed police and officers from the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) – which protects against monopolies – amidst suspicion of “competition-limiting arrangements”.

“We have taken legal advice,” DFB general secretary Wolfgang Niersbach told German sports agency SID.

“We want to exhaust all judicial means to defend ourselves against this approach.”

The DFB are unhappy about the heavy-handed tactics, insisting they would have complied with any requests for information or documents, and have submitted a formal complaint to the authorities.

“We are accountable to our six million members,” said Niersbach.

The FCO in Bonn rejected the criticism and said the matter will be decided by the district court in Bonn, who granted the search warrant of the DFB and DFL premises.

“In case of a complaint about the search into the DFB and DFL offices, the matter will be argued with the district court who decided to give us a search warrant,” said FCO spokeswoman Silke Kaul.

SPORT

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

Spain have been thrown out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup for fielding an ineligible South African-born player during the qualifying stages and will be replaced by Romania, World Rugby announced on Thursday.

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

“Subject to Spain’s right of appeal, the 10-point deduction applied to the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification table means that Romania will qualify as Europe 2 into Pool B replacing Spain,” read the statement.

Portugal — who Spain beat to seal their place in the global showpiece in France next year — replace Romania in the Final Qualification Tournament taking place in November 2022.

“Spain has a right of appeal within 14 days of the date of the full written decision of the committee,” read the statement.

According to Spanish media in March, the player under investigation was South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg, who has been playing in Spain since 2018.

He played twice against the Netherlands, in 2020 and 2021, in qualifiers, but he may not seemingly have served the three years of residency needed to become eligible under World Rugby rules.

Spain, Romania and Belgium were all sanctioned in 2018 for having fielded ineligible players, opening the way for Russia to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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