Keats-gate: Scott handed life ban

Sat, 09 Mar 2013 06:22
Large mike scott h s Large tyson keats   lyn jones2 Large tyson keats   lyn jones

Former London Welsh team manager Mike Scott has been hit with a lifetime ban from any involvement in Rugby Union.

Former London Welsh team manager Mike Scott has been hit with a lifetime ban from any involvement in Rugby Union after providing false information over the registration of Kiwi scrumhalf Tyson Keats.

Keats appeared in 10 Premiership games this season without holding the correct registration with the Rugby Football Union and, although London Welsh had already been handed a five-point deduction and a £15,000 (US$22,534) fine as a result, the RFU on Friday took strong action against Scott as well.

Scott was charged under RFU rule 5.12 with "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the Game" for providing false and misleading information to the governing body over the registration of New Zealand-born Keats, who joined London Welsh from disbanded club Aironi last July.

An RFU hearing on Tuesday heard Scott had been cautioned by police over his role in the matter as Keats, who knew nothing about the deception, was working in Britain unlawfully for five months after it was fraudulently claimed he had been born in England.

Scott was said to have supplied the RFU with a fake copy of a UK passport to seal Keats's signing after the player's ancestry visa application was turned down on September 3.

An RFU statement read: "Mike Scott was today [Friday] suspended from the management, coaching or playing of Rugby Union and membership of any club for life following an RFU Misconduct Hearing.

"The former London Welsh team manager may not apply for the order to be lifted for 10 years."

Scott had told Keats' agent and London Welsh that the scrumhalf had been granted an ancestry visa by virtue of his paternal grandfather, who was born in England.

This should have meant London Welsh received English Qualified Player payments from the RFU, due to Keats being available for selection to the national squad.

However, Keats had not been granted a visa. Scott, having asked Keats to sign a blank form, then submitted falsified documents to the RFU.

It claimed Keats had been born in Christchurch, England, as opposed to Christchurch, New Zealand, and held a UK passport.

When the RFU made further inquiries regarding Keats' registration, Scott sent a forged UK passport to the governing body.

Scott went on sick leave in December, after failing to turn up for an European Challenge Cup game against Grenoble, but emailed the club's Director of Rugby Steve Lewis admitting he had created "one almighty mess" because he had been trying to get Keats' visa "through the back door".

The case was dealt with by Jeff Blackett on papers and without a personal hearing at Scott's request.

Scott, who has 14 days to appeal the judgment, accepted the allegation against him and submitted a written plea of mitigation.

London Welsh, who now sit bottom of the Premiership two points behind Sale Sharks, also had a further five-point deduction suspended until the end of next season as a result of the controversy.

AFP

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