Latvian minister asks for re-assessment of Rugby Federation head’s competence

Taking into account the publicly reported information that the president of Latvian Rugby Federation Aivars Pilenieks has physically assaulted a player of U-18 team, Education and Science Minister Kārlis Šadurskis has decided to ask the federation to re-assess Pilenieks’ professional competences and compliance with requirements of his post.

«Violent behaviour and systematic violations of ethical requirements we have seen from the head of Latvian Rugby Federation are unwelcome in fair and clean sports. Such behaviour from Pilenieks is unworthy of the president of Latvian Rugby Federation. I invite Pilenieks, whose methods have created bad reputation for the development of rugby in Latvia over the past several months, to take responsibility and step down,» said Šadurskis.

The minister invites members of the federation to call an extraordinary meeting and decide on the president’s professional competence.

At the same time, the minister invites Latvia’s Olympic Committee to discuss this matter with its Ethics Committee to see if Pilenieks behaviour shows signs of violating the ethics code.

Education Ministry also plans to ask Education Quality State Service to investigate information regarding the possible situation in which a coach was employed by Elej Club without having a sports specialist’s certificate.

Latvian Olympics Committee reported on Tuesday, 25 September, that the board agreed to ask the Ethics Committee to assess Pilenieks’ possible ethics violations. The board of LOC has asked the Ethics Committee to assess the situation and decide if Pilenieks’ behavious shows signs of violations of LOC Ethics Code, as well as decide on commencing a disciplinary case against him.

The Ethics Committee plans to discuss this matter in the next couple of days.

Pilenieks says he is ready for an extraordinary meeting, adding that he wanted it to happen ever since the end of the rugby season. He also mentioned that someone has organized a campaign against him.

On Tuesday, 25 September, delvi.lv reported that during the U-18 European Championship at the beginning of September, Pilenieks punched a player of a Latvian team Rainis Salenieks. Pilenieks said it was not a punch.

«I think that was an ordered article – they specifically claimed that I had punched him. I do not think it was a punch. There were emotions, but it was no punch. Now it’s more like no one can touch anyone else, even though rugby is a contact sport unimaginable without contact fight,» said Pilenieks.

He also added that the player continued playing in the tournament after the ‘incident’.

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