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London Welsh lament their fate

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 06:58
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We well deserved our place in the top flight of English club rugby
Quote-end

Chairman of relegation-bound Premiership club London Welsh Bleddyn Phillips has issued a statement lamenting the impact of a player eligibility scandal on their season.

The club was relegated from the Premiership following their defeat to Northampton Saints and now face a decision over whether to stay in Oxford or return to their former base in Old Deer Park.

Phillips thanked the players, coaches and fans for their support, but said that the penalties resulting from the scandal surrounding Kiwi scrumhalf Tyson Keats had simply been too large to overcome.

Former manager Mike Scott had forged documents for Keats to be considered as an English player, and the club was docked log points, which was a blow that they never recovered from.

"We have shown without any doubt that we well deserved our place in the top flight of English club rugby this season.

"Not only have we had to battle against low budgets and minimal preparation time, with the issue of imbalanced central funding having already been the focus of attention in other recent press stories, but the club has also had to contend with what has in its view been the application of unfair and disproportionate sanctions in the wake of the Mike Scott incident and the consequent five-point deduction at what was a critical stage of the season.

"Not only did this impact upon our position in the table, dropping us to bottom overnight, but it unsurprisingly had a very profound impact on the morale of the team," he said.

Phillips stressed that he had a number of issues with the RFU's handling of the matter, but resigned himself to tackling the next challenge.

"Turning to the future, a number of key decisions clearly need to be made regarding the future of the club, including where it should base itself for next season.

"All that can be said for the moment is that we are considering all options and will come to as early a decision as possible having taken soundings from all our stakeholders," he explained.

One other immediate consequence of the results and actions over the weekend is the decision that Tony Copsey has decided to step down as CEO.

Copsey said: "I'm obviously very disappointed to be stepping down as the CEO of London Welsh, but given the situation I did not feel carrying on in my current capacity was the best for me or the club.

"I will continue to support the club going forward and wish it all the best in the very challenging times it faces ahead."

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