Aviva Premiership - London Welsh fail to meet Premiership criteria

Wed, 23 May 21:05:00 2012

The RFU has ruled London Welsh's stadium is not up to Premiership standards, meaning neither they nor Cornish Pirates can win promotion and Newcastle Falcons are safe from relegation.

Joe Ajuwa London Welsh - 0

The Pirates have opted against the independent audit required to earn a place in the Premiership in the event of promotion, meaning the winner of the Championship play-off between the two sides will in fact win nothing.

London Welsh won the first leg of the play-off 37-21 in Penzance and are expected to appeal the RFU's decision.

Newcastle, who were ostensibly relegated from the top division on the final day of the season when their 14-10 victory over London Wasps was not enough to overtake their fellow strugglers at the bottom of the league, will now remain in the Premiership for the 2012-13 season.

The RFU said in a statement: "The Rugby Football Union's board of directors has considered the findings of the independent audit report requested by London Welsh, which determines a club's eligibility for promotion to the Aviva Premiership in line with the minimum standards criteria.

"The report, carried out by independent auditors, found that London Welsh has not met the MSC for the Aviva Premiership.

"The independent auditors identified various failures, including not having primacy of tenure at their nominated ground.

"This states that a club must demonstrate that they can host home fixtures at the time stipulated by Premiership Rugby and/or the host broadcaster.

"The RFU board ratified the findings and agreed, should London Welsh win the RFU Championship final following the second leg on May 30, they would not be eligible for promotion and Newcastle Falcons would remain in the Aviva Premiership.

"Cornish Pirates did not choose to have an independent audit of the Mennaye Field and so do not fulfil the criteria for promotion should they win the final.

"As a result, there will be no promotion from the RFU Championship this season."

Welsh have 14 days to appeal and are almost certain to do so.


Comment 36 - 56 of 56

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  1. Yes rugby is now a business, albeit one where 10 at­ least of the Premiership sides run at a loss, and would­ do so catastrophically were it not for selling their­ souls to the devil a.k.a. Sky TV who are the ail­ wagging the dog here. It is Sky who insist on games­ being played at times to suit them (and just about only­ them, sometimes). So instead of fixtures being possible­ on alternate Saturdays to a ground-sharing football­ club, Sky can dictate a ae s to be played any time­ between Friday evening ad Sunday evening, and the clubs­ must comply. It is insane that the Campionship Final­ first leg was scheduled at 7.45 p.m. on a Wednesday in­ Penzance, and the second leg has to be midweek too.­ Kassam Stadium meets the primacy of tenure rule save­ that the fall back venue, Griffin Park, is not within­ 30 miles of Kassam (though within five miles of Old­ Deer Park). What other criteria are not met I don't­ know, not least as the London Welsh Board of Directors­ were not apparently told until the Thursday some hours­ after the media were told the decision (though not the­ content details). To my mind the business of­ Premiership rugby is being operated on the basis of­ action in restraint of trade, and m'learned friends­ could have a field day and another Office of Fair­ Trading referral is highly possible. Serve the RFU­ right if they end up with both sides costs. QCs will be­ involved. See you in court.

    From Daniel, on Sun 27 May 19:06
  2. This decision stinks!

    From kean, on Fri 25 May 3:44
  3. Rob Andrews Rugby Operations Director at RFU April­ 2011....Newcastle Rugby Develement Director­ 1977...Newcastle won promotion to the Premiership that­ year. He was there for 10 years then joined the RFU in­ 2006. I just can't believe that he had any­ influence on this decesion. What did Carling x England­ say about the RFU "Old Farts" he should­ have said corupt old farts

    From GERRY, on Thu 24 May 19:40
  4. Reply to 56. Big Rich Hypocrisy doesn't even­ cover a fraction of the story of the way the­ Championship is handled. But yes, I can't disagree­ with you, it will be lame to complain about the Pro 12­ not having relegation and promotion, when they­ themselves are a closed shop. Thats not to mention­ the hypocrisy of applying criteria, mid-season, to­ Championship sides, that they don't apply to all­ Premier sides. Or the daftness of requiring a 10,000­ seater stadium for Championship sides when for example­ Sarries v Saints game at Vickerage Road (quite high up­ teams) struggles to get half that in attendance? And­ what is with their latest idea the Primacy of Tenure­ (which I thought had been dropped after an OFT ruling)?­ Together with the other requirements, I think only­ Leeds Carnegie would have been the only team in any­ position to meet Premiership requirements. You had­ play-offs where none of the four contenders could meet­ Premiership requirements.

    From Eddy, on Thu 24 May 12:11
  5. I cant understand why they cannot share Oxford's­ ground? Sarries share Vicarage Road with Watford FC so­ whats the problem?

    From Mark, on Thu 24 May 10:09
  6. And this is from the orgamisation who wants to change­ the rules of the Heineken Cup because the PRO 12 does­ not have promotion and relegation. Hypocritical or what­ ?

    From BigRich, on Thu 24 May 9:36
  7. I dont think this article is very well written nor is­ it very factual The ground they play at at the moment­ Old Deer Park would never comply Its does however­ concern Oxford Utd ground which Welsh were hoping to­ share and this is were they dont have rimacy of tenure ­ Therefore they would have to rely on Oxford Utd and the­ FA fixtures committee to be able to rearrange matches­ so as to validate Sky/ESPN televising matches It all­ ready works for Irish (Reading) Wasps( Wickham)and did­ at Sale( Stockport County) Oxfords ground was built­ with football and rugby in mind indeed it did host the­ Amlin final some years ago and why it does not now­ comply one can only imagine In theses days of­ transparency question ought to be asked and in deed­ answered And as a ps. Pirates did not even apply for­ the audit nor offer an alternative ground option­ thereby eliminating them selves from promotion

    From Robin, on Thu 24 May 8:36
  8. Have to agree with a lot of the comments here - except­ from the brain-dead, football fairies - the whole­ system does seem unfair but then the clubs must have­ had some say in agreeing to the regulations so it's­ not a sudden kick in the teeth. Additionally, the­ "primacy of tenure" question must be levelled­ at a number of existing Premiership clubs that­ ground-share, as they probably DON'T have first­ consideration when it comes to organising fixtures.­ Ultimately, the Premiership administration has made a­ rod for their own backs and should expect to be taken­ to appeal any time this issue arises. Ultimately, I­ think they need to make provision for some­ alternatives, otherwise the Premiership could remain a­ virtually closed shop. Similarly, clubs that strive for­ promotion and have a realistic chance of competing for­ it should prepare their facilities appropriately and­ endeavour to ensure that they are in a position to meet­ the expectations. Not sure Primacy of tenure should­ necessarily be a requirement... I understand the­ thinking but is it really that necessary? Just a few­ thoughts from a land of no rugby...!

    From oyster250, on Thu 24 May 7:50
  9. Dateless as usual I rind myself agreeing with your­ fair, accurate and non-partisan critique of the London­ Welsh situation. I would add that as unfortunate as it­ is the criteria were laid down beforehand. I realise­ that the ground improvements involve a fair amount of­ investment but that is life I am afraid. Had it not­ been for wealthy benefactors teams such as Newcastle­ themselves wouldn't have made the Premiership.­ Whether we like it or not, and I have mixed feelings on­ the matter, rugby is now business too.

    From BOBROVNIK, on Thu 24 May 7:03
  10. Dateless as usual I rind myself agreeing with your­ fair, accurate and non-partisan critique of the London­ Welsh situation. I would add that as unfortunate as it­ is the criteria were laid down beforehand. I realise­ that the ground improvements involve a fair amount of­ investment but that is life I am afraid. Had it not­ been for wealthy benefactors teams such as Newcastle­ themselves wouldn't have made the Premiership.

    From BOBROVNIK, on Thu 24 May 7:02
  11. I don't have a problem with setting requirements on­ clubs being promoted but I expect fairness. The term­ used to justify exclusion "no primacy of­ tenure" is rather vague and I am not sure if a­ number of current Premiership teams have that. London­ Welsh may well have a basis for a legal challenge to­ that decision. However there needs to be­ perspective, at least we have some form of­ promotion/relegation. The value of such a system is­ amply demonstrated by Harlequins, Northampton and­ Exeter.

    From Dateless, on Thu 24 May 6:34
  12. London Welsh and every other Championship club knew the­ rules before a ball was thrown, similar to Spurs­ predicament regarding Champions League qualification.­ To those outraged conspiracy theorists claiming that­ 'priveleged clubs' are being favoured by the­ RFU - thats the same RFU which relegated Harlequins.­ And for those who advocate promoting the highest club­ with an eligible ground - so the club with the best­ ground gets promoted is a better criterion?

    From AIDAN K, on Thu 24 May 3:32
  13. Smells of corruption. They should have been given a­ warning and a deadline not at this garbage. What for­ fighting for promotion when you don't know what­ they are gonna throw at ya? Police needs to investigate­ RFU on this matter.

    From Half A Brain, on Thu 24 May 1:04
  14. Stupid shaped ball played by middle-class arseholes­ called Jeremy or Nigel from a county ending in­ 'shire'.So glad to see English rugby failed to­ capitalise on the 2003 world cup success and is­ declining in popularity year-on-year.There are 3­ sports in England,football,football & football.As­ Orwell once said "if you blew up the main stand at­ Twickenham you would put back the cause of British­ fascism by a generation"

    From paul o, on Thu 24 May 0:54
  15. As a Tigers supporter, I do have a lot of sympathy for­ the smaller clubs. The Premier League is not becoming a­ closed shop it already is. Small clubs are the life­ blood of the game, the endevour and the sheer hard­ work that goes into keeping these clubs alive cannot be­ underestimated. There has to be rewards, ie promotion,­ otherwise it becomes a pointless excercise, and the­ whole game loses. To talk about the 'security of­ tenure' is nonsensical to reach that standard you­ have to; or at least have, the potential to meet the­ financial demands inherent in such an undertaking. The­ only way you can reach that standard is by playing the­ top clubs and that demands promotion, then sponsership­ kicks in with other financial rewards such as TV­ revenues which then gives a club the chance to meet­ such criteria over a number of seasons.

    From Mike, on Thu 24 May 0:05
  16. Seems like an old boys club to me. Newcastle Falcons­ have some good friends in the RFU. Wouldnt want to­ relegate Johnny Wilkinsons old club would you.

    From Violent Torpedo Of Truth, on Wed 23 May 23:46
  17. They are trying to bring the game into the twenty first­ century for chrissake last thing we want is ale house­ teams playing on ale house grounds. Spend the money on­ decent facilities and then you will be allowed at the­ top table, its the way of the world.

    From G w, on Wed 23 May 23:38
  18. Sounds a farce as they were lining up a quality stadium­ at the kassam in oxford, good enough for cup rugby so­ surely good enough for league!?

    From Chris, on Wed 23 May 23:11
  19. I cant follow the play off system and it appears to be­ pointless. Must be manic to prepare for the next season­ when the play offs run into June, how do you get new­ players in etc etc. Only really Exeter and ex prem­ sides bouncing back into premiership from championship­ aka Quins & Saints, that can handle it, all sooner­ or later slip back into championship like Leeds. Heres­ a novel idea 2 down from Prem to championship, Winners­ automatically promoted plus the winner of a truncated­ play off between 2nd and 3rd. They should just let­ Bristol inTBH. Thoughts Ste

    From STEPHEN METCALFE, on Wed 23 May 22:44
  20. If the RFU carry on like this then union will end up­ like superleague. A closed shop that will only let you­ in when the big boys have had enough of hammering­ another little club. Instead why not extend the­ league to 18 clubs. Then have a 3 up and 3 down system,­ you could still have play offs. Then clubs like my club­ Doncaster could have a realistic chance of going up.­ Instead of just treading water season after season.

    From MARTIN FISHER, on Wed 23 May 22:41
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