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  Beijing rugby team faces penalty for match-throwing scandal  

  

 

SHENYANG, China, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing women's rugby sevens team could be stripped of the silver medals they won at the National Games for match-throwing pending an investigation, a top sports official said here on Wednesday.

"An investigation has been launched by the Chinese Rugby Association," Sun Yuanfu, an official at the State General Administration of Sports.

"The Beijing team's silver medals would be stripped of if the Chinese Rugby Association rules that their conduct is an offence of serious nature."

The National Games was rocked on Tuesday when the Beijing team threw the women's rugby final against the Shandong team in a protest to controversial refereeing.

Beijing had been widely favored for the women's gold in rugby's debut at the National Games, but Shangdong scored two tries to jump 10-0 up soon after the start.

The Spanish umpire awarded Shandong another try in the second half, a decision which Beijing players claimed "wrong". The Beijing players then refused to play and stood still on the pitch, only to see their opponents score easily and eventually win by a scoreline of 71-0.

Beijing coach Jiang Xuming alleged the umpire "biased" in favor of the Shandong team.

"It's too obvious," Jiang said angrily after the game.

But rugby's jury committee at the ongoing National Games was quick to defend the umpire.

"We've come to the conclusion that the umpire's ruling is fair and correct after our review of the match videos," the committee said in a statement.

The Beijing team made an apology to the public on Tuesday night, saying that their behavior was "inappropriate" and "tarnished the images of rugby and the National Games".

According to the medal counting system adopted for the 12th National Games, the Shandong women's rugby team's victory were awarded two gold medals and the Beijing team two silver medals.

The quirky counting system awards three gold medals to the winning team of any of "three big ball games" - soccer, volleyball and basketball, and the winners of any other team event two National Games golds.

 

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