London Welsh appeal date set
Tue, 19 Mar 2013 18:42
One almighty mess
London Welsh's appeal against a five-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player will be heard on Thursday, officials announced on Tuesday.
The Premiership club were hit with a five-point deduction and a £15,000 ($22,534) fine after it was revealed their New Zealand-born scrumhalf Tyson Keats had played in 10 matches without being registered correctly.
Mike Scott, the former London Welsh team manager, has been banned for life from rugby after he admitted supplying false information, including a forged passport, to England's governing Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Scott had told Keats' agent and London Welsh that the player 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 Twickenham.
Scott went on sick leave in December, after failing to turn up for a 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".
London Welsh are appealing on the grounds argued they should not be blamed for the conduct of Scott, described in the original judgment as a "rogue employee".
The points deduction saw London Welsh fall to the bottom of the Premiership, two points adrift of Sale Sharks with five matches remaining and they also had a further five-point deduction suspended until the end of next season as a result of the controversy.
London Welsh are currently in the lone relegation place but have five matches in which to preserve the top-flight status they only secured this season, starting against Gloucester on Saturday.
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