Mbonambi Cleared by World Rugby Due to Insufficient Evidence of Racial Slur

Mbonambi Cleared by World Rugby Due to Insufficient Evidence of Racial Slur

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) expressed its disappointment in World Rugby’s decision that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with disciplinary action against South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi after a second allegation that he made a racial slur at England’s Tom Curry came to light.

In a statement, the global governing body declared the matter closed unless additional evidence comes to light, allowing Mbonambi to participate in Saturday’s World Cup final for the Springboks.

The RFU also revealed that, in addition to the initial allegation that Curry was called a “white cunt” during last Saturday’s World Cup semi-final, a further allegation emerged that the flanker was subjected to “the same abuse by the same player” during England’s defeat by South Africa in November 2022.

The RFU criticized World Rugby’s decision by stating that it denied an independent panel the “opportunity to hear Tom Curry’s voice and to independently assess his account of these serious events, together with the other available evidence.” The RFU issued a statement, fully supporting Tom Curry in raising awareness of racially abusive behavior he experienced while playing for England against South Africa. The statement read, “During the match between England and South Africa on Saturday, 21st October 2023, Tom Curry reported to the referee that he had been racially abused by Mbongeni Mbonambi. The subsequent World Rugby investigation was 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 has today announced their decision not to bring charges in respect of either incident. The RFU is 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.”

World Rugby acknowledged the second allegation but insisted that, having considered all the available evidence, it could not proceed with disciplinary action. In a statement, they noted, “World Rugby has undertaken a review of allegations made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language by South Africa’s Mbongeni Mbonambi during the England versus South Africa Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final on Saturday along with a further allegation brought forward in recent days about a previous match in the Autumn Nations Series 2022. 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.”

Curry and his family have been the targets of considerable abuse on social media in recent days, prompting England to criticize the treatment of their player. The RFU added, “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 behavior 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 continues to encourage everyone to report any unacceptable behavior in the game.”

Mbonambi has also been targeted online, and World Rugby added in a statement, “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.”


Related Posts