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Thursday Oct 26, 2023

Statement: Decision made surrounding Mbongeni Mbonambi racism allegations

A decision has been made by World Rugby not to proceed with the allegations of racism against Mbongeni Mbonambi after insufficient evidence has been found.

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The RFU had led a formal complaint to the world governing body following the England Vs. South Africa World Cup quarter final match in which Tom Curry claimed to have been called a ‘White c***’ by Mbonambi.

Both the RFU and World Rugby have since released statements regarding the decision.

World Rugby have said:

“Any allegation of discrimination is taken extremely seriously by World Rugby, warranting a thorough investigation. Having considered all the available evidence, including match footage, audio and evidence from both teams, the governing body has determined that there is insufficient evidence at this time to proceed with charges.

“Therefore, the matter is deemed closed unless additional evidence comes to light.

“It is important to note that World Rugby accepts that Tom Curry made the allegations in good faith, and that there is no suggestion that the allegation was deliberately false or malicious.

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“World Rugby is also concerned by the social media abuse that both players have been subjected to this week. There is no place in rugby or society for discrimination, abuse or hate speech, and World Rugby urges fans to embrace the sport’s values of respect, integrity and solidarity.

Whilst the RFU have emphasised their disappointment in the decision not to proceed to an Independent Disciplinary Panel:

“The RFU fully support Tom Curry in raising the racially abusive behaviour he experienced whilst playing for England against South Africa.

“During the match between England and South Africa on Saturday 21st October 2023, Tom Curry reported to the referee that he has been racially abused by Mbongeni Mbonambi.

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”The subsequent World Rugby investigation were informed by Tom Curry that he had also been the victim of the same abuse, from the same player, in the Autumn Test 2022. World Rugby have today announced their decision not to bring charges in respect of either incident.

“The RFU are deeply disappointed by the decision taken by World Rugby. The decision not to put the evidence before an Independent Disciplinary Panel has denied the disciplinary process the opportunity to hear Tom Curry’s voice and to independently assess his account of these serious events, together with the other available evidence.

“In their continued full support of Tom, the RFU together with the England Squad, condemn the disgusting abuse he and his family has received on social media as a result of his having had the courage to put unacceptable behaviour that has no place in society or on the rugby field, in the public eye.

“Abuse of any kind is not acceptable and goes against the core values of rugby. It is important that it is safe and acceptable for everyone involved in rugby union to raise concerns, and the RFU continue to encourage everyone to report any unacceptable behaviour in the game.

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