Bermuda Withdraws From 2015 NACRA 7s

May 30, 2015

The Bermuda Rugby Football Union says that it regrets to officially announce the withdrawal of both the Men’s and Women’s Senior National 7s teams from the 2015 NACRA 7s, due to take place next month in the United States.

The reason for the late withdrawal surrounds the issue of player eligibility.

A spokesperson said, “Historically, World Rugby [iRB] had a three year residency requirement for national representation. With the return of rugby as an Olympic sport, World Rugby eligibility rules have been altered to bring them in line with IOC rules in time for the Summer Olympics in Rio 2016.

“This is a change, as qualifying tournaments for Commonwealth, CAC and PAN-AM Games were open to any player who met World Rugby’s eligibility criteria which were not dependent on which passport they held. World Rugby’s Eligibility Policy, dated July 2014, stipulates that National team athletes must possess passports issued by the participating nation.

“It means that Bermuda National Team rugby players must possess British Overseas Territory [Bermudian] Passports issued by the Government of Bermuda. Bermudians in possession of British Passports issued in the UK are not eligible. Bermuda has players who have proudly represented Bermuda with passports from Ireland, U.S., Jamaica, Barbados, Japan, Canada and the UK.

“The vast majority of those players also possess Bermudian status. However they are now not eligible unless they are in possession of British Overseas Territory [Bermudian] Passport issued by the Government of Bermuda.

“The BRFU have been negotiating with NACRA regarding the timing of the stringent implementation of policy as it provided no room for emergency application and issuing of proper passports and selection and training of players who meet the new requirements.

“The position taken by BRFU is that it is manifestly unfair to the men and women who have dedicated the last 12 months of training to be told at the eleventh hour they cannot participate; especially when the new criteria was known 12 months ago but not shared.”

Niall Brooks, COO of NACRA, said, “Everyone recognizes the hard work that everyone has put into training, In any other year this would not be an issue but the importance being placed on the event both in the region and World Rugby takes precedence.”

“As a result of this ruling, the BRFU had to withdraw from both NACRA tournaments due to lack of a players to make up viable teams. St Vincent and the British Virgin Islands have also confirmed their withdrawal from the NACRA tournament stating eligibility issues.”

BRFU president Sean Field-Lament said, “It goes without saying how disappointed we are about this development. We pulled out due to the late notification of eligibility requirements, which is not in line with previous tournaments. The ramifications of eligibility to Bermuda and other smaller amateur Unions within NACRA, and indeed around the World is huge.

“Given advance warning, we could have selected alternative players and taken the necessary steps to acquire the appropriately issued passports for several of our players. You can understand our deep frustration. Contingencies plans are in place to recoup some of the finical losses.

The Men’s National team are now entered the Monmouth 7s on June 20th, and will also be competing at the Serevi 7s in Glendale in August. The Women’s team is looking at a sevens tournament in Calgary on 3rd and 4th July. We will put this disappointment behind us and move on.”

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  1. UmJustSaying says:

    NACRA=organized,dis-organization.a total failure in communication. We expect better for the good of the sport.