Russia have been granted a place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup after Romania and Spain were found to have fielded ineligible players during the qualification stage.
This year's Rugby Europe Championship was won by Georgia, who had already secured their place at the finals in Japan due to their third-place finish in the Pool phase of the 2015 tournament.
That meant Romania's runners-up spot saw them advance, ahead of Spain and Russia.
But in a statement released on Tuesday, World Rugby confirmed that both Romania and Spain had broken eligibility rules, resulting in a points penalty for both countries.
"Romania has fielded one ineligible player on eight occasions during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships (of which six matches related to Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying)," a statement read.
"Spain had fielded one or more ineligible players on nine occasions during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships (of which eight matches related to Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying)."
Belgium, who finished fifth in the six-team group, were also found to have selected ineligible players in six matches relating to RWC qualifying, leading to the following punishments, which are subject to appeal within two weeks:
"The deduction of five points for any match in which a union fielded an ineligible player (40-point deduction for Spain, and a 30-point deduction for both Belgium and Romania)," confirmed World Rugby, while Germany - who finished pointless after losing all of their matches - will now face Portugal in a play-off.
"Therefore, based on a re-modelling of the Rugby Europe Championship tables in the context of Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying, Russia would qualify as Europe 1 into Pool A, replacing Romania, and Germany will replace Spain in the European play-off against Portugal."
Tuesday's announcement is not the only controversy to surround the Championship, after five Spain players were banned for a combined total of 121 weeks for their furious reaction to Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu's handling of their crucial clash with Belgium.
Belgium prevailed 18-10, a result which at the time saw Romania secure their place at the World Cup.
24 de enero 2019
|Lakers star LeBron won´t face Timberwolves|
|Valverde doesn´t regret resting Messi despite Barcelona loss|
|In my heart and in my prayers - Ben Yedder pays tribute to missing Sala|
|Real Madrid reclaim world´s highest-earning club title from Manchester United|
|Messi absence no excuse for Barcelona loss, says Suarez|
|Humble Higuain excited by Sarri reunion|
|He must not come and cry after – Goncalves unapologetic over Neymar injury|
|Serie A record-breaker under Sarri - the Opta numbers behind new Chelsea striker Higuain|
|PSG boss Tuchel ´worried´ after Neymar sent to hospital with another foot injury|
|Coles commits to New Zealand and Hurricanes until 2021|
23 de enero 2019
|Guardiola praises City mentality on ´dangerous´ Burton pitch|
|England won ´attritional´ battle, says Anderson after latest landmark|
|AEK, Brose Bamberg secure last-16 spots|
|Sevilla 2 Barcelona 0: Resting Messi backfires for Copa del Rey holders|
|Sarri: Chelsea players agree with me on motivation comments|
|Morata asked to leave Chelsea a month ago, says Sarri|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2 Strasbourg 0: Neymar suffers injury scare in Coupe victory|
|Anderson´s four-wicket haul rocks Windies|
|Burton Albion 0 Manchester City 1 (0-10 agg): Holders coast through to clinch Wembley return|
|PSG´s Neymar hobbles off in Coupe de France clash|
|De Ligt bored of Ajax departure rumours|
|Piatek completes AC Milan move after Higuain exit|
|Super Bowl LIII: Rams RBs v Patriots RBs|
|Chelsea seal Higuain loan|
|Ismaily kicked out of CAF Champions League after fans throw stones, bottles|
|England star Itoje pens new Saracens deal|
|Palace keeper Hennessey charged over Instagram post|
|Chelsea warn supporters over anti-Semitic chanting ahead of Tottenham EFL Cup tie|
|Joshua primed to make call on next opponent|
|Super Bowl LIII: Brady v Goff|
|Sala search suspended as Cardiff chairman confirms club wanted different travel arrangements|
|Cruyff, Koeman, Kluivert - De Jong following pantheon of Dutch Barca greats|
|Sarfraz apologises for comments picked up by stump mic|
|Djokovic: Pouille deserves top-10 spot|
|Hazard must be more demanding if he wants to leave Chelsea, says Ballack|
|Celtics´ Kyrie Irving to sit out Cavs game with flu-like symptoms|
|Barcelona seal €86m De Jong deal|
|Vietnam v Japan: Moriyasu happy to keep doing just enough|
|Hendricks, De Kock and Steyn join up with Proteas squad|
|Lorenzo excited for ´new level´ at Repsol Honda|
|Fernando replaces injured Pradeep in Sri Lanka squad|
|China v Iran: Queiroz wants to exorcise 2015 quarter-final|
|Balotelli joins Marseille until the end of the season|
|Emery gives Monchi ringing endorsement amid Arsenal sporting director links|
|Larry Fitzgerald returning to Cardinals on one-year deal|
|Watson absence ´an opportunity´ for Scotland hopefuls, says Townsend|
|Pochettino open to new signings but Janssen to remain a Spurs outcast|
|´No trace´ of aircraft so far in Sala search|
|Pochettino will not judge Sarri for criticising Chelsea players|
|From front row to four in a row - Best takes on Farrell at Connect 4|
|Hazard an individual, not a leader - Sarri urges Chelsea star to do more|
|Broad left out of England team for first Test|
|Higuain set to sign for Chelsea but won´t face Tottenham – Sarri|
|McGillvary injury blow for Giants|
|Solari praises Marcelo amid exit rumours|
|A-League Review: Joy and pain for De Jong as Sydney close gap|
|Halfpenny, Davies and Williams set to miss France clash|
|India to rest Kohli from back end of New Zealand tour|
|The hand is good - Farrell expects to be fit to face Ireland|
|Martinez leaves Arsenal for Reading loan|
|Beckham becomes Salford City shareholder|
|Maradona hopes Sala will be found alive|
|Djokovic will not discuss potential Nadal showdown yet|
|A Federer-Nadal double? Even historic scalps may not be enough for Tsitsipas|
|Raonic to assess knee injury, hopes to avoid surgery|
|Barcelona right to fine ´complicated´ Dembele, says Ter Stegen|
|Higuain and Piatek on the move on busy day for Milan|
|Philippe and Vince humble the Hurricanes|
|Nishikori: I couldn´t beat anybody on one leg|
|Boateng poised for debut as Barcelona axe Suarez|