Aviva Premiership
Chiefs confirm Nadolo broke 'overseas' rule
ESPNscrum Staff
April 11, 2011
Nemani Nadolo joined Exeter in January © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Nemani Nadolo
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership

Exeter have have confirmed that the "administrative error" that could cost the club a points deduction occurred when winger Nemani Nadolo was fielded in their matchday squad to face Leeds.

Nadolo, who joined the club from Bourgoin in January, was withdrawn from their squad to face Bath at The Rec on Saturday after the issue came to light. Premiership rules state that clubs may pick no more than two foreign players in their squad with any player from outside the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States deemed as an overseas player.

The Express & Echo reports that although Nadolo is a Fijian international and therefore exempt from any quota, he used his Australian passport to register with the Chiefs and therefore falls outside that criteria. That fact along with the additional presence of Argentinian playmaker Ignacio Mieres and Kiwi prop Hoani Tui in the teams that tackled London Irish and Leeds in recent weeks appear to have triggered the investigation.

Chief executive Tony Rowe said in an Exeter statement, "Unfortunately during our Aviva Premiership fixture away to Leeds Carnegie on Sunday, April 3, Exeter Rugby Club inadvertently included three foreign players within our match-day squad, when official rules permit us to only include two players.

"This was partly down to a clerical error on the club's part and we have now been asked by the RFU to submit to them our reasons for fielding three foreign players.

"We are aware this will need to go before a disciplinary panel, which is likely to be held later this week, and we intend to co-operate fully with the authorities over this matter.

"As a club we hope the authorities take into account our previous good record and there was no intention on our part to try and gain any kind of unfair advantage."

The RFU revealed yesterday that they are investigating the player's registration. "The RFU can confirm that it has been looking into the registration of Nemani Nadolo. Exeter Chiefs have fully co-operated with us throughout and we will keep them fully informed while the matter is concluded," a spokesperson said.

Exeter have enjoyed an excellent first season in the top flight and the pre-season relegation favourites currently lie 16 points above basement club Newcastle.It is understood that even if the Chiefs are found guilty of any wrongdoing it is highly unlikely that any points deduction would be severe enough to drop them into the relegation zone, given the recent punishments dished out for fielding ineligible players.

Sale were deducted a point in 2009 after putting hooker David Ward on the bench despite failing to re-register the player following a loan spell at Manchester and this season Wasps were docked a point in the Anglo-Welsh Cup after fielding ineligible flanker Joe Burton against Exeter.

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