Top Georgia rugby official arrested for shooting player

Tbilisi (AFP) –


The vice-president of Georgia's rugby union (GRU) has been arrested for shooting a player and wounding him in the leg, the Caucasus nation's interior ministry said Thursday.

The bizarre incident comes less than two months before the Lelos, 12th in the world rankings, start their Autumn Nations Cup campaign after replacing Japan who withdrew because of fears over Covid-19.

Merab Beselia was detained "on Wednesday for the illegal purchase, possession and carrying of a firearm and for intentionally lightly wounding a person," the interior ministry spokeswoman, Nino Giorgobiani, told AFP.

She said Beselia shot Ramaz Kharazishvili -- a rugby player and former coach of the country's sevens' team -- and wounded him in the leg.

The incident took place at the rugby union's offices, following a dispute between the pair.

Beselia could face up to three years behind bars if found guilty.

The injured Kharazishvili has had surgery and his life is not in danger, police spokeswoman Giorgobiani said.

The GRU has been in turmoil after the resignation in August of president Giorgi Gorgaslidze.