The International Rugby Board (IRB) has given a statement whereby they offer clarification of the membership application status of Cyprus Rugby.
Cyprus, who are on a record streak of eighteen straight wins, were recently floored by the news that they would not be allowed to attempt to qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Thus began outcry on social media websites while a petition was also set up to help 'The Moufflons' compete.
Cyprus face Hungary this weekend as they look to cement their spot at the top of Division 2C. They were hopeful they would then be cleared to face the top side in Division 2D in the opening round of European RWC qualifying on May 4 but it seems that dream will not come true for the in-form side.
"Under IRB Bye-Laws a national Union must be affiliated to the International Federation as a full Member Union in order to participate in Rugby World Cup qualifiers," read the statement.
"The Cyprus Rugby Union is currently not in membership of the IRB. In order to participate in the qualification process as with all Unions, the Union must first seek and achieve Associate Member status and then apply for and achieve full Member Union status. The criteria and timelines are clearly defined under the IRB Membership Pathway and Criteria.
"The IRB welcomes the application by the Cyprus Union to seek Associate Membership status in accordance with the Pathway, Criteria and Bye-Laws and is delighted that the Union has strong ambitions to join the 117 Unions in membership of the IRB and participate in future RWC qualifying processes.
"However, despite the strong performances of the national team in the FIRA-AER European Nations Cup, the IRB Executive Committee determined that Cyprus does not currently meet all of the necessary membership criteria. The IRB Executive Committee does note that the Union is working in partnership with the FIRA Regional Association to achieve the criteria and will reconsider the application in October.
"The IRB is committed to working with its Regional Associations and national Unions to grow the Rugby community around the world."